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Gift of 

With the aid of the 



The Letters of Katherine Mansfield 


The Works of 
Katherine Mansfield 




Edited by 
J. Middlcton Murry 




Letters of 
Man sfi e Id 

Edited by 

J. Middleton Murry 


Alfred* A* Knopf 
Ne iv York I g 2 g 

Copyright 1929 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 


Published February, 1929 
Second Printing July, 1929 



To Richard Murry January 1920 

I owe you letters, thanks I'm in your debt all round and you 
must be thinking I am an ungrateful creature to say the very 
least of it. But I feel as though I've been on a voyage lately on 
the high seas out of sight of land, and though some albatross 
post has brought your news under it's wing I've never been able 
to detain the bird long enough to send an answer back. Forgive 

The little book is a rare find. I've not only read every word and 
stared the pictures (especially the crocodile and the little lamb 
who doth skip and play, always merry, always gay) out of coun- 
tenance. I've begun a queer story on the strength of it about a 
child who learnt reading from this little primer 1 Merciful 
Heavens! think of all the little heads bowed over these tiny pages, 
all the little hands tracing the letters and think of the rooms 
in which they sat and the leaping light they read by, half can- 
dle light, half fire and how terribly frightened they must have 
been as they read about this Awful God waiting to pop them into 
Eternal Flames to consume them utterly and wither them like 
grass. . . . Did you read the poems? And did your eye fasten 
upon Mr. John Rogers, the first martyr in Queen Mary's Reign, 
laughing, really rather callously, as he burned away in sight of his 
wife and Nine Small Children? They certainly were peculiarly 
hideous children and his wife looks as though she had wasted 
his substance upon buying hats, but all the same it's a bit steep 
to show your feelings as he is doing. 

I am working very hard just now I can't walk about or go 
out. Nearly all my days are spent in bed or if not in bed on a little 
sofa that always feels like lying in a railway carriage a horrid 

1 A little seventeenth century book with woodcuts, of which I forget the title. 

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Letters 1920 

little sofa. I have seen hardly any people at all since I've been here 
nobody to talk to The one great talker is the sea. It never is 
quiet; one feels sometimes as if one were a shell filled with a 
hollow sound. God forbid that another should ever live the life 
I have known here and yet there are moments you know, old Boy, 
when after a dark day there comes a sunset such a glowing 
gorgeous marvellous sky that one forgets all in the beauty of it 
these are the moments when I am really writing Whatever 
happens I have had these blissful, perfect moments and they are 
worth living for. I thought, when I left England, I could not love 
writing more than I did, but now I feel I've never known what it 
is to be a writer until I came here 

To ]. M. Murry January 7920 

. . . Ever since you left you have carried the sun in your pocket. 
It's bitter cold, raining fast, sleeting, and an east wind. D. says 
he has never known the glass so low. The cold is intense. One's 
fingers ache. You could not believe this was the same place. And 
the sky seems to have great inkstains upon it. ... 

The post office has struck no one knows for how long. It just 
announces a strike. The country is in a queer state. Yesterday on 
his way here D. met the men from the railway below who shouted 
" You'd better pack up your traps and go. We don't want any 
more of you English here. We're going to clear you out." But 10-1 
that is an exaggeration. He is an alarmist of the very first water 
and sat here yesterday suggesting that even at 3 o'clock in the after- 
noon no one could hear my screams if I were attacked, and that 
a revolver for a person like me was ridiculous. They'd knock it 
away in no time. I have come to the conclusion that he's not only 
a real insane lunatic but a homicidal maniac. I thought the first 
time he was here he was a trifle insane, but then you liked him so 
and I felt that you would laugh at me for always " suspecting " 
people. . . . But I know I'm right. His glance, without any bar- 
riers, cruel, cruel like a man raving with delight at the sight of 
a torture ; his flat-sounding voice, somehow so repressed and held 
back; his physical great stiffness and the shape of his flat head 
real criminal shape. See him in profile, his eyes glittering. He's 

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Letters 1920 

a terrible object. He is attracted to me because he realises my 
sensitiveness. I'm weak for him to terrify. It relieves him to 
sit in that small room and suggest that navvies will break in and 
" slit your throat " while L. M. is in San Remo. Well . . . 

The new maid is here. If to be a maid is to drop the stove-rings 
on to the tiled floor, she's an excellent one, and very cheap at 5 
francs a day. . . . 

If only this black weather would lift. The wind howls. All 
goes well here. I worl^ and work^ and wort^ and stay in bed until 
the sun returns. 

To Miss Fullerton Wednesday 

January 14, 7920 

Your letter has made me spring so high that 30 francs a day is 
mountain peaks below ! I do not know how I am to thank Cousin 
Connie and you for this letter. Will you please believe that large 
warm beams of gratitude are coming out of this letter and that the 
inkpot is flashing and stars are dropping off the pen. 

But seriously thank you from my heart! The Hermitage 
sounds the very place for me and Ida is quite content to go to the 
Pension Anglaise. I know I shall be able to earn the extra money 
to keep us both quite easily in such surroundings. Besides, I shall 
get well at such a rate that they will turn me out for a fraud by 
the time April is over. 

Could they take us soon? Ida is going in to San Remo to-day 
to see about our passports and so on and I wondered whether, if 
we can get a car, they would be ready for us to-day week (next 
Wednesday). Or is that too soon? We shall prepare ourselves for 
Wednesday, and then if we must wait a few days it will not mat- 
ter. I should like if possible to take the rooms for a month to be- 
gin with, tho' I am sure I shall stay longer. 

I keep re-reading your letter as I write. My dear, what trouble 
you have taken and how soon you have answered. I had marked 
Friday in my diary as the day I could " perhaps " hear. 

I told the doctor man that I wanted very much to leave here 
and he said that I must there were no two opinions. My lungs 

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Letters 7920 

are much better and my heart is only temporary caused, he says, 
by the fever and "acute nervous strain." But that will vanish 
away as soon as the solitary confinement is over. 


To J. M. Murry L'Hcrmitage, Mentone 

January 21, 7920 

... I have escaped. Do you know what that means? There 
has been a postal strike in Italy. No letters, no wires. Nothing 
comes through. A strike of the railways, and now from to-day 
a strike of automobiles. We just got through by taking a round- 
about route and escaping the police. . . . 

I have got away from that hell of isolation, from the awful 
singing at night, from the loneliness and fright. To tell you the 
truth, I think I have been mad, but really, medically mad. A great 
awful cloud has been on me. . . . It's nearly killed me. Yes. 
When J. took me in her arms to-day she cried as well as I. I felt 
as though Fd been through some awful deathly strain, and just 
survived been rescued from drowning or something like that. 
You can't understand, it's not possible you should, what that 
isolation was when you left again and I again was ill. . . . 

If I don't get well here, I'll never get well. Here after the 
journey was this room waiting for me exquisite, large, with 
four windows, overlooking great gardens and mountains, won- 
derful flowers tea with toast and honey and butter a charm- 
ing maid and these two dear sweet women to welcome me 
with papers, books, etc. This is really a superb place in every way. 
Two doctors live here. . . . The cleanliness is almost supernatural. 
One feels like a butterfly. One only wants to fan one's wings, on 
the couch, the chairs. I have a big writing table with a cut-glass 
inkstand, a waste-paper basket, a great bowl of violets and your 
own anemones and wall-flowers in it. The directress is a very 
nice Frenchwoman only too anxious to look after me and see that 
there is no change in anything. . . . There is also a sort of Swiss 
nurse in white who has just been in and says she answers the 
bell at night. She is so good to look at that I shall have to ring. 

I've got away from under that ghastly cloud. All is absolutely 
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Letters 1920 

changed. I'm here with people, with care. I feel a different crea- 
ture really different eyes, different hair. The garden is gorgeous. 
There is a big shelter, chauffed. What do you think of that ? 

8.30 A.M. 
January 22, 1920 

... I have had such a gorgeous night in this huge room, with 
stars coming through the west and south windows and little airs. 
At eight arrived the breakfast. I really hope this place is showing 
off a little and this present behaviour is abnormal. If it isn't, pray 
see that our new house has folding doors, wide staircases. Nothing 
else will contain me. Oh, blankets and sheets of such rare quality 
blankets that feel like lambs sheets glaces. Electric lamp by 
the bedside under a small gold shade great pot of hot water 
muffled in a real soft thick bath-towel. All these things are act- 
ing with such effect upon the infant mind of your girl, and a west 
view of mountains covered with little pines and a south view of 
distant sea and olive groves (as seen from 2 marble balconies) 
that she feels almost intoxicated. 

Getting away yesterday was really pretty awful. Ma'am Littardi 
arrived asking 50 lire for the hire of the stove ; the youth who has 
been sleeping arrived asking for 5 lire a night (8 nights) and the 
laundry arrived with a bill for 57 lire. . . . The taxi fare was 
6, and he demanded 25 francs for having seen us through the 
police at Vintimille. I don't care. I'm still alive and I'm away. But 
the comble was that the day before yesterday when I was gone 
upstairs to fetch the revolver two beggars came and rang. The 
door was open. So I came down as quick as I could. But they'd 
gone and were at the foot of the steps an old man and an old 
woman with a bundle. I saw them get into a small mule cart and 
drive away. At n P.M. that night I asked L. M. to fetch my over- 
coat as I wanted to sew on a button. It was gone, with the green 
scarf the woolly. What do you think of that? Italy, my Italy! 

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Letters 7920 

January 25, 1920 

. . . C. came in yesterday to see me, carrying a baby Pekinese. 
Have you even seen a really baby one about the size of a fur 
glove, covered with pale gold down, with paws like minute seal 
flappers, very large impudent eyes and ears like fried potatoes? 
Good God! What creatures they are. This one is a perfect com- 
plement to Wing. We MUST have one. They are not in the least 
fussy or pampered or spoilt. They are like fairy animals. This one 
sat on my lap, cleaned both my hands really very carefully, polished 
the nails, then bit off carefully each finger and thumb, and then 
exhausted and blown with 8 fingers and two thumbs inside him, 
gave a great sigh and crossed his front paws and listened to the 
conversation. He lives on beef-steaks and loaf-sugar. His partner 
in life, when he is at home, is a pale blue satin bedroom slipper. 
Please let us have one at The Heron. . . . 

I went down yesterday for lunch and dinner. I am here on false 
pretences. I am the only healthy creature here. When I entered the 
salle a manger I felt that all the heads were raised and all the noses 
sniffed a frampold rampant lion entering. It's not that these peo- 
ple are ///. They look exactly as though they were risen from the 
dead, stepped out of coffins and eating again pour la premiere fois. 
Their hair is thin and weak and poor; their eyes are cold and 
startled, theii hands are still waxen and THIN ! They are walking- 
sticks. All the little arts and allurements they have shed and 
not yet picked up again. They are still sexless, and blow their 
noses in a neuter fashion neither male nor female blows. At 
the tables there are the signs and tokens of their illnesses bot- 
tles, boxes. One woman gave me a nasty knock. She had a rechaud 
beside her a lamp and a stand and she re-heated everything, 
even the plates. There, but for the grace of God, went Wig. The 
waitresses of course thrive in this atmosphere. They are two pretty 
full-bosomed girls, with spider-web stockings, shoes laced up their 
legs, little delicate wispy aprons, powered necks, red lips, scent 
and they move like ballet-dancers, sliding and gliding in the 
fullness of their youth and strength over the polished floors. All 
this amuses me very much. . . . 

Never again shall I cut myself off from Life again. I haven't 
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Letters 1920 

any illusions, darling. I know all about it and am not really a baby 
saying " a-gooh-a-gah ! " but, in spite of everything, I know il y a 
quelquechose . . , that I feed on, exult in, and adore. One must 
be, if one is a Wig, eternally giving and receiving and shedding 
and renewing and examining and trying to place. According to 
you, I suppose, my thinking is an infant affair with bead frames 
and coloured blocks well, it's not important. What is important 
is that I shall go up in flame if I do not show you these cornflowers 
and jonquils. [There is a little drawing of a pot of them.] 

The day is cloudy, but it doesn't matter. Landscape is lovely in 
this light; it's not like the sea. The mimosa great puffs of mi- 
mosa and great trees of red roses and oranges bright and flashing. 
Some boys are being drilled outside. The sergeant-major keeps on 
saying: "T'ois cinquante, n'est-ce pas? " and there is a most for- 
lorn bugle. 

Here is a story my little femme de chambrc told me. Please 
read it. 

" Do you know, Madame, quc les fleurs sont trop fortes to be 
left dans la chambre pendant la nuit et surtout les joncs. If I put 
them sur le balcon n'est-ce pas ? and bring them in early in 
the morning? Vous sa vez quand ma petite mere etait tres 
juene, elle etait las maitresse d'une petite ecole pour les tout petits 
enf ants. Et sur son jour de fete les bebes lui ont apporte un bouquet 
enorme, grand comme un chou, rond comme $a, Madame de 
ces joncs. Elle les a mis dans sa chambre a coucher. C'etait un ven- 
dredi. Le soir elle s'est endormie et puis, tout le samedi, le di- 
manche, jusqu'au lundi matin, elle dort profondement. Quand les 
petits eleves sont arrives le lundi, la porte etait fermee. Us ont 
frappe. Pas de response. Enfin, mon pere, qui n'etait mon pere a 
ce temps-la, alors est venu du village et il a force la porte et 
voila ma mere, qui n'etait pas ma mere ni meme mariee a ce temps- 
la; toujours dans un sommeil profond, el 1'air etait charge de la 
parfum de ces joncs qu'elle a mis sur une petite table pres du 
lit " 

Don't you like that story? Do you see the infants looking in 
with their fingers in their mouths, and the young man finding her 
blanche comme une bougie, and the room and the flowers? It's a 
bit sentimental, p'raps, but I love it. I see such funny little worms 
with satchels and socks and large tarn o'shanters. 

= 291 = 

Letters 7920 

To Mrs. Sylvia Lynd January j/, 7920 

I can't tell you how pleased I was to get your letter how sorry 
to know that you've been so ill. You're better now ? It's a cursed 
thing to have. I had an attack once ten years ago above a 
grocer's shop in Rottingdean; no more than ten years ago or less, 
the year our great Edward the Peace Maker died. He died when 
I was in the very thick of it. But it's an absolute mistake that you 
should be ill. You're not at all the person to be ill. I always see 
you in my mind's eye sitting up and laughing, but sitting up in 
a way that few people have any idea of delightfully. 

Look here! I'm coming back to England in May for a few 
months at least. Let us meet. Let us arrange it now. Will you come 
and spend the whole day ? That is not half big enough, but my 
plans are so vague. I don't know where we shall be living. J. seems 
to be either camping in a waste-paper basket at Adelphi Terrace, 
or walking the country looking for a real country house far from 
station, church and post-office. But I don't want to miss you, so 

spare a day for me. I'll look for the review of . I did it badly 

very badly. The trouble with the book is it's over-ripe. It's hung 
in the warm library too long; it's gone soft. But that's the trouble 
with that whole set of people and with all their ideas, I think. 
One gets rather savage living in a little isolated villa on a wild 
hillside and thinking about those things. All this self-examination, 
this fastidious probing, this hovering on the brink it's all wrong! 
I don't believe a writer can ever do anything worth doing until 
he has in the profoundest sense of the word accepted life. 
Then he can face the problem and begin to question, but not be- 
fore. But these people won't accept life; they'll only accept a point 
of view or something like that. I wish one could let them go, but 
they go on writing novels and Life goes on big, expensive; 
so poor little K. M. goes on lifting up her voice and weeping 
but she doesn't want to! 

I've left Italy (Italy is a thoroughly bad place at present), and 
as you see, I'm in France. It's lovely weather warm, mild. The 
air smells of faint, far-off tangerines with just a touch of nutmeg. 
On my table there are cornflowers and jonquils and rosemary 
sprigs. Here they are for you. The flowers are wonderful. How 
lovely the earth is. Do you know that I had fifteen cinerarias in 

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Letters 7920 

Italy, and they grew against the sea? I hope one will be able to 
call these things up on one's Death-bed. 

This is not a letter. It's only to say I have yours which arrived 
to-day. It's only to greet you and to send my love and to beg you 
to get better quickly. All those things! Good-night. 

To Richard Murry February 7920 

Here is a letter with an Ominous drawing of yourself in Aids to 
Eyesight. I hope you won't have to wear them, You have as you 
doubtless know, beautiful eyes, very rare, expressive, original and 
seldom seen eyes, the kind of eyes you might imagine a person 
having if he'd been born at sea while his wise parents cruised about 
among the Pacific islands and had spent the first days of his 
natural little life wondering what all that blue was. However, if 
you do have to have 'em glassed and framed so do I. Mine or 
rather one of mine is not at all the orb it used to be. I'm going to 
wear horn specs " those of the largest kind " for working in. What 
a trio we shall present at the Heron. Pray make a drawing of us 

surprised at our labours and suddenly all at various windows 
looking out to see who that is coming up the flagged walk three 
faces at three windows six prodigious eyes! Whoever it was 
faints among the pink peonies. . . . 

Yesterday, no the day before, I received a copy of ]e ne Parle pas. 
I want to thank you for having printed it so beautifully. It makes 
me very happy to see your name on the back page. My share 
doesn't satisfy me at all, but yours fills me with pride. I hope a 
little handful of people buys it, for the sake of covering the expense. 
The page you send me of Cinnamon and Angelica looks very 
well. Are you going to make a map for the frontispiece with the 
arms of C. and A. very fairly drawn ? Or a tiny, tiny Durer-like 
drawing of Apricia, with a great flowery branch in the foreground 

you know the kind of things I mean ? It is somehow most right 
that you should draw. When I come back you'll shew me your 
sketches? Another quite small insignificant little half-hour job 
for you is a stone carving for the garden of the Heron, something 
that will abide for ever with somewhere about it our names in 
beautiful lettering saying we lived and worked here. 

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Letters 1920 

I am out of Italy, as you see, and in France. I shall stay here until 
the end of April if I can manage it. That Italian villa got pretty 
dreadful and yet, now the time there is over, I wouldn't have it 
otherwise. I found out more about " writing." " Here " is a room 
with the window opening on to a balcony and below the balcony 
there is a small tree full of tangerines and beyond the tree a palm 
and beyond the palm a long garden with a great tangled it looks 
like a wood at the bottom of it. Palms, Richard, are superb 
things. Their colour is amazing. Sometimes they are bronze, some- 
times gold and green, warm deep tiger-gold and last night, 
under the moon in a little window, they were bright silver. And 
plus that, the creatures are full of drawing. How marvellous life 
is, if only one gives oneself up to it! It seems to me that the secret 
of life is to accept life. Question it as much as you like after, but 
first accept it. People to-day stand on the outskirts of the city 
wondering if they are for or against Life is Life worth living 
dare they risk it what is Life do they hate or love it but 
these cursed questions keep them on the outskirts of the city for 
ever. It's only by risking losing yourself, giving yourself up to 
Life, that you can ever find out the answer. Don't think I'm senti- 
mental. You know and I know how much evil there is, but all the 
same let's live to the very uttermost let's live all our lives. People 
to-day are simply cursed by what I call the personal. . . . What 
is happening to ME. Look at ME. This is what has been done to 
ME. It's just as though you tried to run and all the while an 
enormous black serpent fastened on to you. You are the only 
young artist I know. I long for you to be rich really rich. Am 
I a dull little dog? Forgive me. I am working awfully hard and 
that always makes me realise again what a terrific thing it is 
our job. 

To /. M. Murry February 1920 

. . . You've sold my book. 1 Do you mind asking them to send 
the cheque to me ? Pure childishness. But I want to see it with my 
own eyes and send it with my own hands to Kay. I feel the Bank 
will close. ... Re the matter of the book I Suppose I shall 
have final say. I couldn't have The Woman at the Store reprinted, 

1 Bliss and other Stories. 

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Letters 1920 

par example. If it's left to C. or if C. has a say, it would be bad. 
... I do want the story called Second Helping that I'm at now 
to be included. . . . 

Another change in the near future. I have not mentioned it, but 
this place is intolerably noisy. I am so sensitive to noise, oh, so sen- 
sitive. It hurts me, really. They bang my door, other doors, shout, 
shriek, crash. I can't endure it and really can't work or sleep. The 
doctor suggested une forte dose de veronal. Merci. But really it's 
bad. I just mentioned this to J. She came one day when I was feel- 
ing it a bit badly. To-day she arrived with a carriage and fur rugs 
and silk cushions. Took me to their villa. It is really superb, ex- 
quisite outside and in. They had a chaise longue in the garden 
a tiny tray with black coffee out of a silver pot, Grand Marnier, 
cigarettes, little bunch of violets, all ready. Then we went in to 
tea. Their villa is really it's a dream. I mean even the furnish- 
ing is perfect Spanish silk bed coverlets, Italian china, the tea 
appointments perfect, stillness, maids in tiny muslin aprons flit- 
ting over carpets . . . and so on. Then they showed me into a 
room, grey and silver, facing south, with a balcony the only 
touch of colour a little rose brocade couch with gilt legs and J. 
said, " Now, my dear, we want you to come here, and live here. 
It's dead quiet. You can be alone all day if you like. There is the 
garden. We are here . . . We want you here until May. You're 
going to get well. You can't afford to fight or see ugly people or 
have ugly trays." And then she laughed and said, " The Lord has 
delivered you into our hands, and please God we'll cure you.'' 
What do you think of that? . . . Why should they do that? 
Why should J. say, " Then I'll be at rest about you, darling. I shall 
know you're safe"? It's as though my Mother were here again. 
I miss her so. I often long to lean against Mother and know she 
understands things . . . that can't be told . . . that would fade 
at a breath . . . delicate needs ... a feeling of fineness and gen- 
tleness. But what Mother hadn't is an understanding of WORK. 
The villa is very large a huge hall lighted from above. It has 
delicate balconies, and a tower. I want you to see it. I can't make 
you see it. I want you to see the garden and the potting-shed where 
I can walk and look at the little plants. Huge springing palms 
great branches of orange against the sky. [A drawing of one.] 
No, I can't draw them. . . . 

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... I cannot have the German Pension reprinted under any 
circumstances. It is far too immature, and I don't even acknowl- 
edge it to-day. I mean I don't " hold " by it. I can't go foisting 
that kind of stuff on the public. It's not good enough. But if you'll 
send me the note that refers to it I will reply and offer a new book 
by May ist. But I could not for a moment entertain republishing 
the Pension. It's positively juvenile; and besides that, it's not 
what I mean; it's a lie. Oh no, never. 

February 1920 

Very well, Isabel, about the Pension. But I must write an 
introduction saying it is early, early work, or just that it was writ- 
ten between certain years, because you know, Betsy, it's nothing 
to be proud of. If you didn't advise me I should drop it over- 
board. But, of course, I'll do the other thing, and certainly it airs 
one's name. But why isn't it better ? It makes me simply hang my 
head. I'll have to forge ahead and get another decent one written; 
that's all. . . . 

I've told the people here I'm leaving. It was awful. How I hate 
having to do this, especially as they have been so immoderately 
kind. They make such a dreadful fuss of me everybody, down 
to the servants. Even the masseuse says: "It was so wonderful 
just to come into the room, and then we all say we know Mrs. 
Murry's room by the good smell outside the door cigarettes and 
flowers." As to Armand oh, it's been dreadful. These people are 
so queer. Just because the room is arranged as we arrange a room, 
and gay, and I wear my little coats and caps in bed, it seems to 
them amazing. It's not in the least. 

Villa "Flora, Mentone 

February 25, 7920 

... It is raining here, but such lovely rain ! The drops hang on 
the rose bushes and on every tip of the palm fronds. Little birds 
sing; the sea sounds solemn and full and silver gulls fly over. I can 
smell the earth and I can feel how the violets are growing and all 
the small things down there under my window. It is exquisite. 

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Talking about flowers, you know Gentlemen's Buttonholes? 
(A double daisy, small.) They grow here in every conceivable 
colour, and massed together they really are a superb sight. I am 
sure Sutton would have them. We must remember to grow them 
so in our garden, in a round bed. Country Life, of course, makes 
it almost impossible to wait for a garden. When one reads the 
collection of flowery shrubs, par exemple mock orange (you 
remember that ? It was at Mylor), four kinds of flowering quinces, 
Mexican fuchsia. . . . Oh dear me! And then the annuals that, 
sown in January and February, are flowering in Avrilo there 
are at least 24 kinds and if you are clever you can grow them 
so that one kind marches up with banners after the other until the 
chrysanthemum is there. I think I shall become a very violent 
gardener. I shall have shelves of tomes and walk about the house 
whispering the names of flowers. We must have a tiny potting 
shed, too, just big enough for you and me. I see as I write little 
small forked sticks with labels on them. Daphne grows in Eng- 
land: Eden Phillpotts has a great bush. I shall write for a cutting. 
I read in Country Life of a most excellent apple called " Tom 
Putts " silly name, but it seems to be a very fine fruit and the 
trees bear in their second year. Country Life intoxicates me 
the advertisements and the pictures and the way they harp on 
hardy annuals. We must have a boy for heavy work, but I want 
to do a fearful lot myself large gloves again and very short 
corduroy velveteen skirt Buff Orpington colour. Now I must 
lay down my trowel. . . . 

To Richard Murry February 7920 

Yes I did get your letter written to a place called Hermitage, 
very much called Hermitage, where Russian children stamped 
overhead and Roumanians roared below and French infants 
rushed at you in the lift. After Italy it seemed all right at first 
but then they began feeding us on haricot beans and I hate haricot 
beans. They have no imagination. What with that and the noise 
I turned against it and my Cousin who has taken this villa for le 
saison asked me here. Here is about as perfect as it could be. A 
great garden, lemon and orange groves, palms, violets in blue car- 
pets, mimosa trees and inside a very beautiful "exquisite" 

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house with a spirit in it which makes you feel that nothing evil 
or ugly could ever come near. It's full of life and gaiety but the 
people are at peace you know what I mean ? They've got a real 
background to their lives, and they realise that other people have 
too. I am basking here until I come back, some time in May. 

Mentone is a lovely little town, small and unreal like all these 
places are, but even here there are real spots. The colour and 
movement everywhere make you continually happy. It's all ruled 
by the sun; the sun is King and Queen and Prime Minister, and 
people wear hats like this: [A drawing] I mustn't bring one back 
for J. or you, but they are very tempting! 

I'm not ill any more. Really I'm not. Please think of me as a 
comfortable cross between a lion and a lamb. 

I wish you had a quiet spot where you could draw in peace. 
But your room at the Heron will be your studio. It's such a waste 
of life to bark and bite like people do: I think we ought just to 
ignore them and go our way. 

It's no good getting mixed up in " sets " or cliques or quarrels. 
That is not our job. By their wor\s ye shall kjiow them is our 
motto. And life is so short and there is such a tremendous lot to 
do and see: we shall never have time for all. I wish we could 
find the house, don't you ? I don't think J. will find it before I'm 
back (that's in 9 weeks time) but there will be a lot to do when 
it is found. It's just going to be the perfect place for us all our 
real home. You must be down in all your spare time and when 
you're in London you must always have the feeling it's there, 
with the smoke going out of its chimneys and the hens laying 
eggs and the bees burrowing in the flowers. I feel we must keep 
bees, a cow, fowls, 2 turkeys, some Indian runner ducks, a goat, 
and perhaps one thoroughly striking beast like a unicorn or a 
dragon. I am always learning odd things such as how to light 
a scientific bonfire but now you're laughing at me. However, 
just come and see my bonfire one of these days, and you will turn 
up your eyes in admiration. 

In the Hermitage letter you asked me what were my views 
about Adam in this great swinging garden. Now that's awfully 
difficult to answer. For this reason. I can't help seeing all the evil 
and pain in the world: it must be faced and recognised, and 
I can't bear your sentimentalist or silly optimist. I know it all: 

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I feel it all. And there is cruelty for instance cruelty to children 

how are you going to explain that ? and, as you say, the beauty 

yes, the beauty that lurks in ugliness, that is even outside the 
pub in the gesture of the drinking woman. I can't explain it. I 
wish I could believe in a God. I can't. Science seems to make it 
/^possible. And if you are to believe in a God it must be a good 
God and no good God could allow his children to suffer so. 
No, Life is a mystery to me. It is made up of Love and pains. 
One loves and one suffers, one suffers and one has to love. I feel 
(for myself individually) that I want to live by the spirit of 
Love love all things. See into things so deeply and truly that 
one loves. That does not rule out hate, far from it. I mean it 
doesn't rule out anger. But I confess I only feel that I am doing 
right when I am living by love. I don't mean a personal love 
you know but the big thing. Why should one love ? No 
reason; it's just a mystery. But it is like light. I can only truly 
see things in its rays. That is vague enough, isn't it? I do think 
one must (we must) have some big thing to live by, and one rea- 
son for the great poverty of Art to-day is that artists have got 
no religion and they are, in the words of the Bible, sheep without 
a shepherd. . . . We are priests after all. I fail and waver and 
faint by the way, but my faith is this queer Love. One can't 
drift, and everybody nearly is drifting nowadays don't you 
feel that ? 

To J. M. Murry February 7920 

It's the most divine spring summer weather very hot. 
This is the kind of thing that happens at 1.30. A big car arrives. 
We go in from our coffee and liqueurs on the balcony. May is 
waiting to dress me I wear " somebody's " coat " anybody's " 
we get in, there are rugs, cushions, hassocks, and yesterday the 
tea basket, and away we go. Yesterday we went to La Turbie 
(I can't spell it and am ashamed to ask). It's up, up high, high 
on the tops of mountains. It's a tiny, ancient Roman town, in- 
credibly ancient! with old bits with pillars and capitals Oh, 
dear it is so lovely. The road winds and winds to get there round 
and round the mountains. I kept seeing it all, for you wishing 
for you longing for you. The rosemary is in flower (our plant 

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it is). The almond trees, pink and white; there are wild cherry 
trees and the prickly pear white among the olives. Apple trees 
are just in their first rose and white white hyacinths and violets 
are tumbled out of Flora's wicker ark and are everywhere. And 
over everything, like a light, are the lemon and orange trees grow- 
ing. If I saw the house which was ours, I saw twenty. I know we 
never shall live in such houses, but still they are ours little 
houses with terraces and a verandah with bean fields in bloom 
with a bright scatter of anemones all over the gardens. When we 
reached the mountain tops we got out and lay on the grass, look- 
ing down, down into the valleys and over Monaco which is, 
if anything in this world is, Cinnamon's capital. The palace, 
seen from so high with its tufts of plumy trees the harbour 
basin with his yacht and a sail-boat and a minute pinnace. An- 
gelica's chemises were hanging out to dry in a royal courtyard. 
I saw them through the glasses. The hedge sparrow and cushions 
and rugs for her the American whose name is D. lay flat on 
her back smoking }., never still for a moment, roamed about 
and one heard her singing. She couldn't keep still and C. (of 
course) unpacked the tea basket and fed us all and poured cream 
down us and then gave away the cakes to two funny little moun- 
tain children who watched us from behind a rock. We stayed 
there about 2 hours and then dropped down by another road to 
Monte the light and the shadow was divided on the hills, but 
the sun was still in the air, all the time the sea very rosy with 
a pale big moon over by Bordighera. We got home by 6.30 and 
there was my fire, the bed turned down hot milk May wait- 
ing to take off all my things. " Did you enjoy it, Madam? " Can 
you imagine such a coming back to Life ? 

February 7920 

Yesterday it being mid-summer Mrs. D. drove me in a ker- 
ridge and pair to Monte Carlo. I take back my words about the 
Riviera not being what it is made out to be. // is and more. It was 
the most marvellous afternoon. We drove towards the sun up hill 
down dale, through mountain roads, through lemon and orange 
groves little children throwing bouquets of violets and hya- 
cinths into the carriage past the sea, under huge mountains 

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and the FLOWERS. Of course, it is all quite artificial: there's no 
imagination in it any where. Monte is real Hell. To begin with 
it's the cleanest, most polished place I've ever seen. The villas are 
huge and they have strange malignant towers. Immense poppies 
sprout out of the halls and roses and geraniums hang down like 
carpets. All the shops are magasins de luxe, lingerie, perfumes, 
fat unguents and pawnbrokers and patisserie. The Rooms are 
the devil's headquarters. The blinds are down, there's a whitish 
glare from the electric light inside carpet on the outside steps 
up and down which pass a continual procession of whores, 
pimps, governesses in thread gloves Jews old, old hags, an- 
cient men stiff and greyish, panting as they climb, rich great fat 
capitalists, little girls tricked out to look like babies and below 
the Room a huge outside cafe the famous Cafe de Paris with 
real devils with tails under their aprons cursing each other as 
they hand the drinks. There at those tables, sit the damned. The 
gardens if you could see them the gardens in Hell. Light, 
bright delicate grass grown in half a night, trembling little pansies, 
grown in tiny beds, that are nourished on the flesh of babies 
little fountains that spray up into the air all diamonds Oh, 
I could write about it for ever. We came back through pine forests, 
past Cap Martin and then at the edge of the brimming sea. I've 
never heard of Monte before never dreamed there was such 
a place. Now I want to go to the Rooms and see it all. It's dreadful, 
but it's fascinating to me. We stopped the carriage outside the 
cafe and waited for about five minutes. I thought of the Heron and 
Our life and I thought how strange it was that at the Heron 
I should no doubt write a story about that woman over there, 
that ancient long-nosed whore with a bag made of ostrich feathers. 
... I wonder if you'd like to see such a thing, would you? I 
don't in the least know. Cruelty is there and vultures hover 
and the devil-waiters wear queer peaked caps to hide their horns. 
There is a book which we must positively not be another week 
without. It is Forster's Life of Dickens. How is it that people refer 
to this and have many a time and oft talked of it to me and yet 
as though it was of course a very good Life, a very good Life in- 
deed, about as good as you could get and immensely well worth 
reading. But so dispassionately so as a matter of course. Mer- 
ciful Heavens! It's one of the most absolutely fascinating books 

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I have ever set eyes on. I found to-day Vol. III. in the book 
shelves. Whether the other two are here or not I don't know, but 
I do most solemnly assure you it is so great that it were worth 
while building a house in the country and putting in fireplaces, 
chairs and a table, curtains, hot wine and you and me and Richard 
and whoever else we " fancy " expres for reading this. It's ravish- 
ing. What will you do when you come to the description of how 
his little boy aged four plays the part of hero in a helmet and 
sword at their theatricals and having previously made the dragon 
drunk on sherry stabs him dead, which he does in such a manner 
that Thackeray falls off his chair, laughing, and rolls on the 
floor. No, that's nothing. Read of his landlord M. Beaufort, read 
of his home in Boulogne. 

Now I am exaggerating. Since I wrote all that I finished the 
book. It's not GREAT, of course, it's not; it's fascinating and it's 
a bit terrible as a lesson. I never knew what killed Dickens. It was 
money. He couldn't, as he grew older, resist money ; he became a 
miser and disguised it under a laughing exterior. Money and 
applause he died for both. How fearful that is! But still we 
must have the book. We must have his complete works. . . . 

Yesterday I had a wonderful afternoon. Mrs. D. took a carriage 
and we (she) stopped. I bought for the house, Oh dear! the most 
ravishing perfect surprises you ever did see. You'll never recover 
from them. She bought some too and a dress for me, a girl's 
dress, blue chiffon with a pinky fringe a summer dress. No, 
I can't draw it. But I really think what I bought for the house 
will bouleverse you. I paid 77 francs of the 10 you gave me, and 
mean as I say to get more. This is a frightful town for shopping 
glass, china, inlaid work, bits of brocade, trays. We had cham- 
pagne for dinner, and J. seeing my softened mood gave me her 
Missal to read. But that's no good. Who made God ? 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett March 26, 1920 

If I write letters which convey my feelings so ill I ought to be 
stopped. God in his infinite wisdom ought to touch my pen with 
wings and make it to fly hence from me for Ever. He ought with 
his Awful Breath to breathe upon the ink so that it catches on 
fire and is consumed utterly. 

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I've a review to write. We shall keep our big talk until the 
end of Avrilo when you must come (will you?) and spend the 
day and bring your slippers in a satin bag as one used to when 
an infant and " invited out.". . . But why can't I give you 
send you for a present this day like a pearl? There's no sun; 
the sky is folded, the sea moves and that is all. It is so still, the 
air is so gentle that every tiny flower seems to be a world unto 
itself. I am sitting at the window and below a silent, silver coloured 
cat is moving through a jungle of freezias. " There by the grace 
of God, goes K. M." you know. 

Don't feel bitter! We must not. Do let us ignore the people who 
aren't real and live deeply, the little time we have here. It really 
does seem that the world has reached a pitch of degradation 
that never could have been imagined but we know it we are 
not deceived. And the fact of knowing it and having suffered, each 
in our own way, cannot make life the life of the universe 
what we mean when we stand looking up at the stars or lie 
watching the ladybird in the grass or feel talking to one we 
love less marvellous. I think that we our generation ought 
to live in the consciousness of this huge, solemn, exciting, mys- 
terious background. It's our religion, our faith. Little creatures 
that we are, we have our gesture to make which has its place in 
the scheme of things. We must find what it is and make it offer 
up ourselves as a sacrifice. You as a painter and me as a writer. 
What is it that urges us? Why do you feel that you must make 
your discovery and that I must make mine? That first because 
we arc artists and the only free people we are obedient to some 
law? There's the mystery! And we shall never solve it we only 
know a little more about it by the time we die and that's all and 
it's enough. 

But just because we do feel this we can't afford to be bitter and, 
oh, we mustn't let the wrong people into our Holy of Holies. 

Don't think I am become an elderly fogey, I believe like any- 
thing in happiness and being gay and laughing but I am sure 
one can't afford to be less than one's deepest self always. That's 
all I mean by renewing oneself renewing one's vows in the 
contemplation of all this burning beauty. We belong to the Order 
of Artists and it's a strict order but if we keep together and live to- 
gether in love and harmony we'll help each other. Oh, I worship 

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life. I fall on my knees before Love and Beauty. If I can only 
make myself worthy. . . . 

To Anne Estelle Rice March 1920 

I'm leaving here April 27th and coming to England until the 
fin d'octobre when I return here. I'll be in Hampstead for the 
summer. . . . We must meet soon. I'm ever so much better and 
can walk and talk but part of my left lung is gone and that means 
my heart is not a boxer's heart and I'll never be able to climb 
trees or run or swim again. Isn't that a bit steep of Almighty 
God ? I'm always praising him, too, but there you are. I'm terribly 
happy all the same and I don't thin\ the world has lost an athlete, 
darling, do you? 

The weather here is simply supreme. It's summer, hot enough 
for cold chicken, un peu de salade, champagne and ice-cream, 
all of which are very much here. The flowers are marvellous, 
Anne. We go for picnics up among the mountains and long day 
excursions by motor. We fly into Monte and buy hats for some 
reason. " C'est 1'heure des chapeaux " at present and hats seem 
to be flying in the air. A whiff of the Rooms gives one civilization 
encore, and the bands, the gay frocks, the children pelting the car 
with tiny bouquets all seem part of the spring picture. All the 
flowers I share with you and the lemon groves and -orange trees. 
I see little houses perched up on the high hills and dream we 
are there sur la terrasse. I shall always love you like that. When 
the light is lovely I think, Anne would see it, and when a funny 
old man stands in the middle of the road cursing his goats it's 
a drawing by Anne. 

I am living here with "relations" the dearest people only 
they are not artists. You know what that means ? I love them and 
they've just been too good and dear to me, but they are not in 
the same world we are and I pine for my own people, my own 
wandering tribe. 

To J. M. Murry March 7920 

I am longing to be home. It is a great strain to live away from 
one's own tribe, with people who, however dear they are, are 
not ARTISTS. These people's minds are about 1894 not a day 

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later. They still talk of such-a-pretty-book and whether one can 
or can't (Oh ye Gods!) have a platonic friendship with a man 
and (Oh ye Gods!) agree that you can't while the male is male 
and the female female ! ! ! ! I " shock " them, but if they knew 
how they shock me. They make me inclined to roll up my sleeves, 
pin back my hair, lock the door and take myself and my knife 
off to the dissecting room where all such idlers are shut out 
for ever. 

Oh, how PURE artists art how clean and faithful. Think of 
Tchekhov and even J.'s talk and Anne's laughing, generous way 
so remote from all this corruption. Let us remain chaste and 

youthful with our work and our life and our poetry. Even 

won't do, you know. One can't afford to mix with people. One 
must keep clear of all the worldly world. And we can do it. I feel 
our happiness will simply be without end when we are together 

Marc h 7920 

I am all for Broomies. 1 I, too, have this idea we may retire 
there and live on love when we are old. I love the little place. It's 
the right size and it's remote and very simple. William and Dor- 
othy might have lived there or any of our own kjnd. If we do 
have money we can always make it better and better but I am 
greatly desirous of our owning it (bad English). I think it's us. 
We can leave it to Richard. It seems to me nicer than anything 
else. I see it under the stars so quiet its thorn hedges spangled 
with moonlight our pony cropping my dear love at the win- 
dow telling me how fine the night is. Please let us decide on it 
if you agree. I want it with all my heart. 

April i, 7920 

An awful thing happened here yesterday. Just a week ago a 
young woman was seen wandering about under the trees at Cap 
Martin and crying all day. Nobody spoke to her. At dusk a little 
boy heard her crying for help. She was in the sea about fifteen 
feet from land. By the time he had told somebody it was dark 

1 A cottage on a Sussex common, which we bought but never entered. 

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Letters 7920 

and she had disappeared. Her purse and jacket were on the beach. 
She had a return ticket to Nice five francs and a handkerchief 
in it that was all. Yesterday the sea washed her up just opposite 
the Villa. She came rolling, rolling in with each wave and they 
waited till she was tumbled on the beach. All her clothes were 
gone except her corset. Her arms and feet were gone and her 
hair was bound round and round her head and face dark brown 
hair. She doesn't belong to a soul. No one claims her. I expect 
they'll shovel her under to-day. Poor soul 

Good Friday 
April 2, 1920 

I am very thankful you liked the reviews. The B book 

was awful dead as a tack. These people have no life at all. 
They never seem to renew themselves or to GROW. . . . The 
species is now adult and undergoes no other change, until its 
head-feathers turn white and fall out. . . . Awful ! ! Even if one 
does not acquire any " fresh meat " one's vision of what one 
possesses is constantly changing into something rich and strange, 
isn't it? I feel mine is. 47 Fitzherbert Terrace, p.e., is colouring 
beautifully with the years and I polish it and examine it and only 
now is it ready to come out of the store room and into the un- 
common light of day. 

Oh my stars! How I love to think of us as workers, writers 
two creatures given over to Art. Not that I place Art higher than 
Love or Life. I cannot see them as things separate they minister 
unto each other. And how I long for us to be established in our 
home with just a few precious friends with whom we can talk 
and be gay and rejoice. . . . Ecce quam bonum et quam jucun- 
dum habitare jratres in unum! Sicut unguentum in capite, quod 
descendit in barbam, barbam Aaron. (Now that surprised you, 
didn't it?) I'm a cultivated little thing, really. 

It's a cold and windy day and makes me cough. I still cough, 
still walk with a stick, still have to rest nearly all the time. They 
still talk about me as tho' I were the size of a thimble. So you 
mustn't expect a very fierce girl and you mustn't be disappointed 
if I have to go slow. 

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Easter Sunday 
April 4, 1920 

I think it would be a famous idea to have sketches and stories. 1 
I wrote one on the spot, called Daphne about a plant. I'll try 
and bring a whole lot home, and you could stick them in under 
noms de plume if you wanted to. 

Yes, it's true about Catholics: their world is not our world 
my duty is to mankind theirs is to a personal deity a really- 
living KING with a flashing face who gives you rewards. I read 
a panegyric by a Jesuit t'other day which did astonish me. 

" God shall be our most passionate love. He shall kiss us with 
the kisses of his mouth " and so on. It disgusted me. They horribly 
confuse sexuality and the state of beatitude. I know really a good 
deal about Catholics now. Of course, there's no doubt J. is a saint. 
But she has given herself up to the whole thing. She works like 
mad for the glory of God lives for his glory refers everything 
to God or his saints, and in fact it is to her what Art is to us. But 
it has warped her even her. I try to pretend she can see our 
point of view, but when she says of ]e ne parle pas, " How could 
you say her big belly ? I feel Our Lady would have disliked it so 
much." Well what are you to say to that ? 

April 7920 

I've just got your note about Je ne parle pas. No, I certainly 
won't agree to those excisions if there were 500,000,000 copies in 
existence. They can keep their old ^40 and be hanged to them. 
Shall I pick the eyes out of a story for ,40? I am furious with S. 
No, I'll never agree. I'll supply another story but that is all. The 
outline would be all blurred. It must have those sharp lines. 
The Times didn't object. As to The Wind Blows, I put that in 
because so many people had admired it (Yes, it's Autumn //., 
but a little different) and queer people spoke so strongly about 
it I felt I must put it in. But this had better be held over till I get 
back. I'll never consent. I'll take the book away first. Don't worry 
about it. Just tell S. he's a fool. As to The Little Governess it was 
on my list and I asked you to include it! ! (Caught out!) But don't 
you worry. It will have to wait. Of course I won't consent! 

1 In The Athenxum. 

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April 7, 7920 

I feel I was too undisciplined about my story and Constable. 
I leave it to you. You're my cricket. If you agree to what they say 
why then, all's well (and I DO want the money). 

Our queer correspondences again. I have been steeped in Shake- 
speare these last days with a note book looking up every word, 
finding what are inkles and caddises. ... I nearly know the 
sheep shearing scene from A Winter's Tale by heart. It's the 
more bewitching scene but that's one of my favourite plays. If 
I am strictly truthful I know nearly all of it almost by heart. And 
I began reading the songs in Twelfth Night in bed this morning 

Mark it Cesario, it is old and plain; 

The spinsters and the knitters in the sun 

And the free maids that weave their thread with bones 

Do use to chant it: it is silly sooth, 

And dallies with the innocence of love, 

Like the old age. . . . 
Clo: Are you ready, sir? 

Dufe: Ay, prithee, sing. (Music) 

Clo: Come away, come away, death, etc. 

Oh, how that does all ravish me. I think I could listen to that 
for a small eternity. 

To Sydney and Violet Schiff April j, 7920 

I feel that I deceived you to-day about my health and I suc- 
cumbed to the awfully great temptation of deceiving myself. 
Really and truly, thinking it over, I am afraid I am not well 
enough to live in that darling little flat. You see there are days 
when I am completely hors de combat; I can't walk a step further 
than I walked to-day and I have to take horrid and extravagant 
care of myself always. Sometimes I get a week when I can't move 
and I am always under a doctor's care and if I do go out I'm 
supposed not to breathe the dust. This sounds ridiculous; I wish 
I didn't have to say it. I feel there is plenty of room to be well in 
une petite appartement but there is not enough room to be ill and 

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I have to provide for it. When I said I had to write for pennies I 
didn't mean for the essential pennies but for all the luxuries 
which are, alas! my necessities. Yes, forgive me, I was carried 
away to-day and I forgot I must behave like an invalid. But when 
I came in and lay down and rested I thought: you know these 
things aren't for you, and you were deceiving those two dear 
people. You must let them know at once. 

Will you forgive me ? And thank you for a lovely day. I'm lying 
here living it over and seeing in my mind's eye your garden and 
hearing the torrent. And much more important than those things 
delighting in the fact of having met you. 

To Richard Murry April 1920 

Talking about English flowers 

Bring hither the pink and purple columbines 

And gillyflowers, 

Bring coronations and sops-in-wine, 

Beloved of paramours: 

Strew me the ground with the daffadowndilly 

With cowslips and kingscups and loved lilies; 

The pretty paunce and the chevisaunce 

Shall match with the faire flower del ice 

I quote from memory but that's hard to beat, don't you think ? 
But I am all for feathery-topped carrots don't you love pulling 
up carrots, shaking them clean and tossing them on to a heap! 
And feeling the cauliflowers to see which one is ready to cut. Then 
OUT comes your knife. When I was about the height of a garden 
spade I spent weeks months watching a man do all these 
things and wandering through canes of yellow butter beans and 
smelling the spotted speckled broad bean flowers and helping to 
plant Giant Edwards and White Elephants. Oh, dear, I do love 
gardens! Think of little lettuces and washing radishes under the 
garden tap. I'd better stop. I just saw you climb into a cherry 
tree, and leaning against the trunk of the tree I saw and smelt the 
sweet sticky gum. But we'll have all these things. 

I bought you one of the most exquisite little boxes yesterday 
I've ever seen. You know how some things belong to people. It 

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stood on a shelf in the shop and said R. M. so I carried it off and 
I'll bring it home. 

April 7920 

Please note: Seats are booked in the train, // the train goes, for 
April 27th and I do hope, time and tide permitting, you will 
meet me at the station will you ? Isn't it gorgeous to think we 
have 6 months in front of us and what's to prevent you and me 
from flitting over the heath and, while He draws and paints en- 
chanted landscapes, She lies on the grass and tells him about the 
lions and tigers and crocodiles and boa constrictors that she used 
to feed under the palm trees at Mentone. Do you know the heron 
has got beautiful blue legs? I read that the other day. 

Your little drawings are most awfully nice. I'll draw you some 
palms, there are so many different kinds. My favourite tree I 
really think, tho', is the lemon tree, it's far more beautiful than the 
orange And then the prickly pear has a lot of drawing: it's 
a very queer affair and then there's the pepper tree hung of course 
with pepper pots but I wish you were here to sneeze at it with 
me. J. seems so very busy that he never has time to write me a real 
letter. I miss them so! For the Tig you know is an animal which 
removed from its native soil, however golden the cage and how- 
ever kind and charming the people who hand it things through 
the bars or even pat it longs for fat envelopes to eat and when 
left without them she finds it an awful effort not to just creep 
into a corner and pine. But it can't be helped I have asked J. 
for them so often that I'm sure he'd send them if he had them 
he just hasn't that's all. 

Will you be quite changed when I come back? Please carry 
something that I can recognize you by such as an emerald 
green handkerchief printed with a design of pink shrimps or 
a walking stick tied with a large bow of pale blue ribbon. No, 
Heaven bless you, I shall know you anywhere and you'll know 

Of course I don't know how to light a fire with damp wood, damp 
paper and i match. BUT please reply telling me how to as who knows 
how soon I may have to do it. (Do you see the hint conveyed in these 

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To /. M. Murry April 20, 1920 

I am staying in bed until lunch as I had a heavy day yesterday 
buying small presents to bring back and so on. Exhausting work 
because one gets so frightfully excited as well. C. went with me 
in the morning and bought me an antique brooch, very lovely; 
three stones set in silver. Then she bought me a pastel blue muslin 
frock with frills like panniers at the side. Ida, who was by, said 
she thought C. had a very bad influence on me because she spoiled 
me so. And the poor old dear got pink just like Granma used 
to and said, " Well, the child has had no fun, no life, no chance 
to wear pretty things for two years. I'm sure J. would want to do 
what I'm doing. . . ." You remember in Italy how I longed to re- 
turn to Life with all kinds of lovely possessions. Funny it should 
have all come true. I also bought the most exquisite fruit plates 
with small white grapes and gold leaves on them pour la famille 
Murry, and a dish, high, to match, to take the breath. I've no 
money. I think I must be a little bit mad. Oh, could I bring the 
flowers, the air, the whole heavenly climate as well: this darling 
little town, these mountains It is simply a small jewel Men- 
tone . . . and its band in the jardins publique with the ruffled 
pansy beds the white donkeys standing meek, tied to a pole, 
the donkey women in black pleated dresses with flat funny hats. 
All, all is so terribly attractive. I'd live years here with you. I'm 
immensely attached to it all and in the summer we'd go up to 
the Alpes Maritimes and live in the small spotless inns with milk 
hot from the cow and eggwegs from the hen we'd live in those 
steep villages of pink and white houses with the pine forests 
round them where your host serves your dinner wearing a 
clean white blouse and sabots. Yes, I'm in love with the Alpes 
Maritimes. I don't want to go any further. I'd like to live my life 
between Broomies and them. 

April 26, 1920 

Oh, how I agree about Shylock! I think The Taming of The 
Shrew is so deadly too. I am certain Bill never wrote it: he bol- 
stered up certain speeches but that is all. It's a hateful, silly play, 
so barely constructed and arranged. I'd never go to see it. I think 

Letters 1920 

we shall have a Shakespeare festival one year at Broomies get 
actors there to study their parts act out of doors a small 
Festa a real one. I'll be stage director. I am dead serious about 
this. Your Stratford makes me feel it. Really it's grilling hot 
to-day ! I feel inclined to make a noise like a cicada. 

To Sydney and Violet Schiff Sunday 

2 Portland Villas, Hampstead 
May 2, 1920 

At last the writing table is in perfect order and I have put a 
notice round the neck of the small angelic creature who is " knock 
man " to my door: " Engaged." At last I'm free to sit down and 
think of last Sunday and wish it were this. This is cold, reluctant, 
uneasy. Now and again a handful of rain is dashed against the 
window. The church bells have stopped ringing and I know that 
there is a leg of something with " nice " spring greens, rhubarb 
tart and custard in every house in Hampstead but mine. It's very 
cold, very grey; the smoke spins out of the chimney. But thank 
God there is a far-away piano, rocking, plunging, broken into 
long quivering phrases it sounds as though it were being played 
under the sea. 

How glad I am how deeply glad that we stopped the car 
on the other side of the tunnel and got out and leaned against 
the wall with one broken village behind and then the falling 
terraces of green. Will you ever forget how those mountains were 
heaped and folded together ? And the fat comfortable man taking 
a cigarette at his ease in the lap of the world and the small impu- 
dent children watching us while we enjoyed our timeless mo- 
ment ? I shall go on reliving that day down to the very last drop. 
But so I shall with all the time we spent together. 

I have been thinking about your new work. Have you done 
any more? It's very good. Delicate perception is not enough; one 
must find the exact way in which to convey the delicate percep- 
tion. One must inhabit the other mind and know more of the 
other mind and your secret knowledge is the light in which all is 
steeped. I think you have done this. Do more. 

M. is desperately pessimistic about everything more espe- 

Letters 7920 

cially he feels that the wicked writers are triumphing to such 
an extent that it's nearly impossible ever to beat them. Things 
have gone too far. I don't feel that at all. I think our duty lies in 
ignoring them all except those whose faults are important 
and in working ourselves, with all our might and main. It is 
waste of time to discuss them and waste of energy. It's a kind 
of treachery to all that we intend to do. I am sure the " day will 

It is joy to have one's room again. Everything is in its place. 
The black and gold scarf lies across a little couch. 

Good-bye, this is not the letter I wanted to write it's only the 
fringe of it. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett May 20, 7920 

The STOVE is come, installed, burning, giving out the most 
blessed beneficent heat imaginable! I cannot tell you how good 
it is to be in this room in a whole warm room with no smoke, 
no making up fires, just a silent, discreet, never-failing heat. If I 
were a savage I should pray to it and offer it the bodies of infants. 
Thank you a billion times for your dear thought. And now a 
belated thank you for the yellow roses which are perfection. 
Now stop being generous, or I'll have to lead a baby elephant 
washed in rose soap, hung with lily buds and marigolds, carry- 
ing a flamingo in a cage made of mutton-fat jade on its back, to 
your doorstep as a return for past favours. 

To Violet Schiff August 7920 

I'm much better. The " trouble " has been I've had an overdose 
of vaccine and it laid me low. Ten million or twenty million 
hosts of streptococci attacked and fought one another. I have 
done with vaccine. 

My Catholic cousins (the Villa Flora ones) have bought a new 
large villa in Caravan the other bay. It has, at its gates, a doll's 
house with a verandah, garden, everything complete. And this I 
have taken from them. I shall be in touch with them, still, and 
they are getting me a maid and so on, but at the same time I'm 
free can you imagine the delight of writing to the Villa Violet, 

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of telephoning to them (my Isola Bella has a telephone l ) and 
asking them if they will come over ? Don't you envy me ? 

By the time you come my garden will be full of flowers. 
Heavens! what a joy that will be. And we shall ignore time 
trick the wretch just for a little. 

To Sydney and Violet Schiff Friday 

August 7920 

We both enjoyed immensely our evening. The play began 
so splendidly and even though it did not keep it up I for 
my part was so happy to be there. . . . We discussed all the way 
home, a new Athenceum the idea of throwing overboard all 
the learned societies and ancient men and reviews of Dull old 
Tomes, and opening the windows to the hurrying sounds out- 
side, and throwing all the old gang into the river. . . . After 
all is it good enough to be halfway between what we really 
want to do and what we don't care a pin for. 

What will the Bishops and the Antiquarians say to the short 
stories ? And just supposing we really told the truth about every- 
thing confidently. The car rushed through St John's Wood 
and we decided to do it, but not to use violence I wonder if it is 
possible. . . . 

I wish you could see my roses. They are so exquisite that yes- 
terday I made Jones photograph them so that I should be able 
to show you how they looked. 

Oh, the devastating cold. I cannot keep warm and all day long 
people walk up and down the stairs and just don't knock at my 
door. Do you ever want to hide, Violet, to be completely hidden 
so that nobody knows where you are? 

Sometimes one has a dreadful feeling of exposure it's intol- 
erable. I mustn't say these things. 

To Violet Schiff August 7920 

Forgive me for not answering before. 

I had asked some people for next Sunday; I was hoping they 
would refuse. But no, this morning they will be " so pleased to 

1 It hadn't. 

Letters 1920 

come/' So M. and I regretfully cannot. I do want to see you both 
soon and really tal\. It seems, I suppose it isn't really, so long since 
we have had time to talk. 

What I always want to do with you both is to share the event 
and then to share the impressions of it the " afterwards." If 
only there were more time but it seems to go faster and faster. One 
is so conscious of it sometimes. 

I feel as though we were trying to talk against the noise and the 
speed of the train trying to hear each other trying to convey 
by a look, a gesture, what we long to talk about for hours days 
What a story one could write about a train journey across 
strange country A party of people with the carriage to them- 
selves, travelling together, and two of them who have something 
they must say to each other. Can you imagine it ? the impatience, 
the excitement, the extraordinary nearness of them all to one 
another the meals in the restaurant car, " the new warm 
plates seemed to come flying through the air" and the pre- 
paring for the night those who do sleep those who don't 
My God! there's such a novel to be written there; will there be 
time to write it ? 

August 7920 

Please don't think about my health. Folkestone or Margate 
(dread places) wouldn't give it me back again. No, I shall go 
away in September somewhere, I don't know where pref- 
erably and here one wants to throw down one's pen (no, to 
lay it down, carefully and gently} and to dream of some place 
where nobody says: " But one moment, if you have fish for lunch 
you won't have it for dinner, will you, and I had thought of it for 
breakfast to-morrow. . . . I'm not interrupting seriously. You've 
not really started work yet, have you ? " 

Violet: " You know I think K. M. is rather ungrateful and 

Ah, don't think that. It's only impatience. There is so much to 
write and there is so little time. 


Letters 7920 

August 7920 

It was a joy to hear from you and you are too generous in your 
criticism of my work for the paper. Nevertheless, it's immensely 
stimulating to know that I gave you pleasure I often say things 
expressly for you both. I am sure you know I do. This week I had 
happened to read a really typical article in an imbecile " woman's 
paper " and I threw my three silly novels away and wrote about 
it instead. I am afraid the greater number of readers will think 
I have gone mad. But Oh, they are such dull dogs sometimes and 
I am ill I must be gay my heart and my cough, my dear 
woman, won't let me walk up and down stairs, even, at present. 
I am afraid I cannot come to you. You know how much I would 
like to. And I'm not sure when I can get away to France; I'm 
not " up " to the journey as they say, at present. It is very cursed; 
I try not to mind; I mind terribly. 

But forgive me. You have a right to be disgusted with me for 
being ill I know if I ever am well and strong again I'll try 
and make up for this unsatisfactory K. M. 

To J. M. Murry Tuesday 

Villa Isola Bella, Menton-Garavan 
September 14, 7920 

What shall I tell you first? I have thought of you often and 
wondered if the beau temps is chez vous aussi, now that I've gone 

We had a good journey but a slight contretemps in Paris. Ida 
disappeared with the porter to find a taxi, and she forgot the door 
she'd gone out rushed off to another and lost me. After about 
half an hour I appealed to the police but they were helpless. The 
poor creature had lost her head and when we did meet finally 
it was only because I saw her in the distance and simply shouted. 
This tired me and made my nose bleed and I had a very bad night 
and had to do my review in bed next day, being fanned and bathed 
with eau de cologne. It's of no importance to me but I felt all 
the time I was betraying you and the paper. Forgive me once again. 

We arrived here yesterday at 4.50 after a day of terrible heat. 
Mentone felt like home. It was really bliss to sit in the voiture and 
drive through those familiar streets and then up a queer little 

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leafy " way " and then another at right angles to a gate all hidden 
by green where la bonne Annette stood waving her apron and 
the peke leapt at her heels. This villa is so far perfect. It has 
been prepared inside and out to such an extent that I don't think 
it will ever need a hand's turn again. The path from the gate to the 
two doors has a big silver mimosa showering across it. The garden 
is twice as big as I imagined. One can live in it all day. The hall 
is black and white marble. The salon is on your right as you enter 
a real little salon with velvet covered furniture and an immense 
dead clock and a gilt mirror and two very handsome crimson 
vases which remind me of fountains filled with blood. It has two 
windows : one looks over the garden gate, the others open on to 
the terrace and look over the sea. I mustn't forget to mention 
the carpet with a design of small beetles which covers the whole 
floor. The dining room is equally charming in its way and 
has French windows, too. It abounds in cupboards full of wessels 
and has a vrai buffet with silver teapot, coffee and milk jug 
which catch the flashing eye, all is delightful. There are even 
very lovely blue glass finger bowls. . . . On the other side of the 
passage is the garde-linge big enough for all our boxes as well. The 
linen is overwhelming. It is all in dozens even to maid's 
aprons. . . . The kitchen premises are quite shut off with a heavy 
pair of doors. The kitchen gleams with copper. It's a charming 
room and there's a big larder and a scullery big enough for a 
workshop and outside there's a garden and three large caves and 
the lapiniere. Upstairs are four bedrooms the maids on the 
entresol. The others have balconies and again are carpeted all over 
and sumptuous in a doll's house way. 

Annette had prepared everything possible. The copper kettle 
boiled. Tea was laid. In the larder were eggs in a bowl and a cut 
of cheese on a leaf and butter swimming and milk, and on the 
table coffee, a long bread, jam, and so on. On the buffet a dish 
heaped with grapes and figs lying in the lap of fig leaves. She had 
thought of everything and moreover everything had a kind of 
chic and she in her blue check dress and white apron sitting 
down telling the news was a most delightful spectacle. 

The heat is almost as great as when we arrived last year. One 
can wear nothing but a wisp of silk, two bows of pink ribbon 
and a robe de mousseline. Moustiques and moucherons are in full 

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blast; we are both bitten to death already. They are frightful. 
But so far I can accept them without a reproach, the compensa- 
tions are so great. 

I must tell you a very big date palm grows outside my bedroom 
balcony window. At the end of the garden wall (a yellow 
crumbling wall) there is a vast magnolia full of rich buds. There 
is a tap in the garden. In the vegetable garden the French arti- 
chokes are ready to eat and minute yellow and green marrows. A 
tangerine tree is covered in green balls. 

The view is surpassingly beautiful. Late last night on the bal- 
cony I stood listening to the tiny cicadas and to the frogs and to 
someone playing a little chain of notes on a flute. 

September 1920 

Your letter and card this morning were so perfect that (only 
you will understand this) I felt you'd brought up a little kitten by 
Wingley and put it on our bed and we were looking at it together. 
But it was a very kitten of very kittens . . . with wings. I must 
answer it this once and risk breaking the agreement not to write. 

Yes, that suddenness of parting that last moment But this 
last time I had a deep, strange confidence, a feeling so different 
to that other desperate parting when I went to France. We are 
both so much stronger and we do see our way and we do know 
what the future is to be. That doesn't make me miss you less, 
though. . . . 

I'm in bed not very O.K. The moustiques have bitten me and 
I've had pains and fever and dysentery. Poisoned, I suppose. It 
was almost bound to happen. But don't worry. Annette is in the 
kitchen and her soups and rice climb up the stairs. 

I think I've got a maid, too, Mme. Reveilly, 5bis. Rue des Poilus. 
She's a police inspector's sister and she looks indeed as though 
she had sprung out of a nest of comic policemen. Fat, dark, 
sitting on the sofa edge, grasping, strangling indeed a small black 
bead bag. " Si vous cherchez une personne de confiance Madame 
et pas une imbecile . . " she began. I feel that was a poor com- 
pliment to my appearance. Did I look like a person who wantonly 
cherished imbeciles to do the house work ? But of course all the 

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time she recounted her virtues I saw the most charming imbecile 
with woolly shoes like rabbits and a great broad beaming smile 
. . . whom I couldn't help dismissing rather regretfully. 

The villa is even lovelier than it was. Once I am up again and 
out again, I feel it will be almost too fair. I do miss you, tho'. 
I have (I have told you a thousand times) always such a longing 
to share all that is good with you and you alone. Remember that. 
Events move so awfully strangely. We live and talk and tear our 
Daily News up together and all the while there is a growth 
going on a gorgeous deep-down glories like bougainvilleas 
twine from your window to mine. . . . 

I've begun my journal book. I want to offer it to Methuen 
to be ready this Xmas. Do you think that's too long to wait? 
It ought to be rather special. Dead true and by dead true I mean 
like one takes a sounding (yet gay withal). Oh, it's hard to 
describe. What do you advise ? 

September 18, 7920 

I'm longing to see your " Wilde-Harris." I am sure O. W. was 
negligible but he is an astonishing figure. His letters, his mock- 
eries and thefts he's a Judas who betrays himself. 

. . . Which is the more tragic figure the master without a 
disciple or one disciple without a master? . . . That's by the 
way. Can I have the Times Lit. Sup.? I freeze, I burn for the 
printed word. 

Saturday. I sent my review last night. I do hope it arrives in 
time. Dearest, I'm better. Temperature normal pain gone 
up and lying in the salon. I am eating again too and now really 
will mend. But I have never been so thin not even in Paris. I 
simply melted like a candle with that fever. I rock when I stand. 
But Hurrah! it's over. 

Sunday afternoon 
September 19, 1920 

It is true - isn't it that we are going to walk out together 
every single Sunday ? All through the week we are hard at work 
you, in that horrible black town that I hate, me, on my beauti- 
ful island; but when Sunday comes (it was my first thought this 

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morning) we adorn ourselves, and soon after midi I hear that 
longed for but rather peculiar, rather funny whistle. I run to the 
window, I kiss my hand, spin down the stairs, and away we 
go. But for this week at least we'll not go far only out of sight 
of the world that's far enough. For your Wig is still so weak 
that she can't walk straight sometimes I fling myself at the 
doors or take a great high step in the air. But I am really on the 
mend, and as to my cough fancy, I've been here five days and 
I cough hardly at all. This morning in fact I didn't cough at all 
and can't remember if I have until now, 6 P.M. I only have to get 
my strength back after this " attack." That is all about me. 

(There is so much to tell you. I tell you in my mind and then 
the effort of writing is too much.) 


My feeling for this little house is that somehow it ought to be 
ours. It is, I think, a perfect house in its way and just our size. 
The position up a side road off a side road standing high 
all alone the chief rooms facing South and West the garden, 
the terrace all South is ideal. You could do all the garden. 
There's a small vegetable plot outside the kitchen and scullery 
there is a largish piece in the front full of plants and trees 
with a garden tap and at the side another bed a walk a stone 
terrace overlooking the sea a great magnolia tree a palm 
that looks as though the dates must ripen. You shall have photo- 
graphs of all this. And then it's so solid inside and so, somehow, 
spacious. And all on two floors and as well all the kitchen prem- 
ises away, shut away and again perfectly equipped. I shall, of 
course, keep the strictest accounts and see exactly what it would 
cost us to live here. 

Marie, the maid, is an excellent cook as good as Annette 
was. She does all the marketing, and as far as I can discover 
she's a very good manager. A marvel really. Of course she cooks 
with butter but then one doesn't eat butter with one's meals so it 
comes to the same thing. The food is far better than any possible 
house we go to in England. I don't know to whose to compare 
it and all her simple dishes like vegetables or salads are so 
good. It's a great pleasure to go into the kitchen for my morning 

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milk and see this blithe soul back from market in the spotless 
kitchen with a bunch of lemon leaves drying for tisane and a 
bunch of camomile hanging for the same. 

All is in exquisite order. There are pots on the stove, cooking 
away mysterious pots the vegetables are in a great crock 
in bundles and she tells me of her marvellous bargains as I sip 
the milk. She is the kind of cook Anatole France might have. 

As to the weather it is really heavenly weather. It is too hot for 
any exertion, but a breeze lifts at night, and I can't tell you what 
scents it brings, the smell of a full summer sea and the bay tree 
in the garden and the smell of lemons. After lunch to-day we had 
a sudden tremendous thunderstorm, the drops of rain were as big 
as marguerite daisies the whole sky was violet. I went out 
the very moment it was over the sky was all glittering with 
broken light the sun a huge splash of silver. The drops were 
like silver fishes hanging from the trees. I drank the rain from 
the peach leaves and then pulled a shower-bath over my head. 
Every violet leaf was full. I thought of you these are the things 
I want you to have. Already one is conscious of the whole sky 
again and the light on the water. Already one listens for the 
grasshopper's fiddle, one looks for the tiny frogs on the path 
one watches the lizards. ... I feel so strangely as though I were 
the one who is home and you are away. 

Tuesday, September 21: I dropped this letter and only to-day 
I pick it up again. . . . And I still haven't told you about this 
house or the life or the view or what your room is like. It all waits. 
Will you just take me and it for granted for about a week? In a 
week I'll be a giant refreshed but I've simply got to get back 
my strength after the last blow. 

But you know how soon I come to the surface. It did pull 
me down. It's only a few days. It's over. I'm on the up grade, but 
there you are just for the moment. Each day the house finds 
its order more fixed and just (that's not English). Marie does 
every single thing. I am having an awning made so that I can lie 
out all day. The weather is absolute exquisite radiance, day after 
day, just variegated by these vivid storms. It's very hot and the 
insects are a trouble, but it's perfect weather. 

I'll just have to ask you to take a wave of a lily white hand to 
mean all for the moment. I wish I were stronger. I'm so much 

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better. My cough is nearly gone. It's nothing but de la faiblesse 
and I know it will pass. But not to be able to give you all this when 
I want to that's hard to bear. 

To Richard Murry September 7920 

I was very glad to hear from you. The drawing of the Flight 
into Mentone was really superb Athy was the spit of himself. 
Yes, I think you'd find the South of France was good country. 
I could be content to stay here for years. In fact I love it as I've 
never loved any place but my home. The life, too, is so easy. There 
is no division between one's work and one's external existence 
both are of a piece. And you know what that means. My small, 
pale yellow house with a mimosa tree growing in front of it 
just a bit deeper yellow the garden full of plants, the terrace 
with crumbling yellow pillars covered with green (lurking-place 
for lizards) all belong to a picture or a story. I mean they are not 
remote from one's ideal one's dream. The house faces the sea, 
but to the right there is the Old Town with a small harbour 
a little quai planted with pepper and plane trees. This Old Town, 
which is built flat against a hill a solid wall, as it were, of 
shapes and colours is the finest thing I've seen. Every time 
I drive towards it it is different. 

And then, there's no doubt that the people here I mean the 
working people make no end of a difference. My servant Marie 
is a masterpiece in her way. She's the widow of a coachman 
just a woman of the people, as we say, but her feeling for life 
is a constant surprise to me. The kitchen is a series of Still Lives; 
the copper pans wink on the walls. When she produces a fish for 
lunch it lies in a whole, tufted green seascape with a large tragic 
mouthful of "persil" still in its jaws. And last night, talking 
of her desire to buy bananas she explained it wasn't so much 
that they should be eaten but they gave "effect" to the fruit 
dish. " A fine bunch of grapes, deux poires rouges, une on deux 
belles pommes avec des bananas et des feuilles" she thought 
worth looking at. 

You know to live with such people is an awful help. Yesterday, 
par example, I had a sack of charcoal and some pine cones de- 

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livered. And passing the kitchen I saw the woodman, in a blue 
overall and yellow trousers, sitting at the table with Marie taking 
a glass of wine. The wine bottle was one of those wicker affairs. 
One doesn't (God forbid) want to make a song about these 
things, but I didn't realise they went on naturally and simply 
until I came here. In England one gets the feeling that all is over. 
Do you know what I mean? And there's never time for more 
than a rough sketch of what one wants to do, and what one feels. 
I hope you don't think I'm running down your country. It's not 
that. It's life in any city. 

To /. M. Murry September 25, 7920 

I am beginning my Sunday letter. I can't resist the hour. It's 
6.30, just on sunset the sea a deep hyacinth blue, silver clouds 
floating by like sails and the air smells of the pine and the bay 
and of charcoal fires. Divine evening! Heavenly fair place! The 
great RAIN has brought a thousand green spears up in every 
corner of the garden. Oh, you'll be met by such Flowers on Parade 
at Christmas time. There's a winey smell at the corner of the ter- 
race where a huge fig tree drops its great purple fruits. At the 
other the magnolia flashes leaves; it has great buds brushed over 
with pink. Marie has just brought in my chaise longue and the 
green chair which is yours to escape I'humidite du soir. ... Do 
these details bore you in London ? Oh, I could go on for ever. But 
I do think this place, villa, climate, maid, all are as perfect as can 
be. Marie's cooking infuriates me. Why don't I help you to her 
escaloppe aux tomates with real puree de p. de terre deux 
feuilles de salade and des oeufs en neige. And her Black Coffee II 

Sharing her return from market tho' is my delight. I go into the 
kitchen and am given my glass of milk and then she suddenly 
rushes into the scullery, comes back with the laden basket (pri- 
vately exulting over her purchases). "Ah cet-te vie, cet-te vie. 
Comme tout $a est chere, Madame! Avant la guerre notre jolie 
France, c'etait un jardin de Paradis et maintenant c'est que le Presi- 
dent meme n'a pas la tete sur les epaules. Allez! allez! Douze sous 
pour les haricots! C'est vrai qu'ils sont frais qu'ils sont jolis, qu'ils 
sont enfin enfin des haricots pour un petit Prince maiz 

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douzc sous, douze sous! . . ." etc., etc. This at a great pace of 
course. Does it come over ? Does it seem to you the way a cook 
ought to talk? There's a mouse in the cupboard. When she 
brought my bregchick this morning . . . " le p'tit Monsieur nous 
a visite pendant la nuit, Madame. II a mange presque toute une 
serviette. Mais pensez-vous quelles dents. Allez-allez! c'est un 
maitre!! " I don't know. I won't bore you with any more of her 

but it seems to me that this is the way that people like her ought 
to talk. 

I heard again from Methuen to-day. They now say they'd like 2 
books for next spring. I think there must have been some trunk 
work, some back stair work in this on your part. But I'll see what 
I can do without promising in my fatal way what I can't perform. 
I wish I could begin real creative work. I haven't yet. It's the at- 
mosphere, the . . . tone which is hard to get. And without it 
nothing is worth doing. I have such a horror of triviality ... a 
great part of my Constable book is trivial. It's not good enough. 
You see it's too late to beat about the bush any longer. They are 
cutting down the cherry trees; the orchard is sold that is really 
the atmosphere I want. Yes, the dancing and the dawn and the 
Englishman in the train who said "jump!" all these, with 
the background. 

Speaking of something else, which is nevertheless connected 
it is an awful temptation, in face of all these novels to cry " woe 

woe! " I cannot conceive how writers who have lived through 
our times can drop these last ten years and revert to why Edward 
didn't understand, Vi's reluctance to be seduced or why a dinner 
of twelve courses needs remodelling. If I did not review novels 
I'd never read them. The writers (practically all of them) seem 
to have no idea of what one means by continuity. It is a difficult 
thing to explain. Take the old Tartar waiter in Anna who serves 
Levin and Stepan Now, Tolstoy only has to touch him and he 
gives out a note and this note is somehow important, persists, 
is a part of the whole book. But all these other men they intro- 
duce their cooks, aunts, strange gentlemen, and so on, and once 
the pen is off them they are gone dropped down a hole. Can 
one explain this by what you might call a covering atmosphere 

Isn't that a bit too vague ? Come down O Youth from yonder 

Letters 7920 

Mountain height and give your Worm a staff of reason to assist 
her. What it boils down /o is ..." either the man can make 
his people live and keep 'em alive or he can't." But criticks better 
that. . . . 

September 27, 7920 

I wish and I wish and I wish. Why aren't you here ? Even though 
I am as poor as a mouse, don't publish Sun and Moon. I'll send 
you a story this week. Do publish it if you can. Of course, don't 
if you're full up. But alas for my ^25 a month it's gone. This, 
however, is sheer wailing. . . . 

The lizards here abound. There is one big fellow, a perfect 
miniature crocodile, who lurks under the leaves over a corner of 
the terrace. I watched him come forth to-day very slithy and 
eat an ant. You should have seen the little jaws, the flick flick of the 
tongue, the great rippling pulse just below the shoulder. His 
eyes, too. He listened with them and when he couldn't find 
another ant, he stamped his front paw and then, seeing that I 
was watching, deliberately winked, and slithered away. 

There is also a wasps' nest in the garden. Two infant wasps 
came out this morning and each caught hold of a side of a leaf 
and began to tug. It was a brown leaf about the size of three tea 
leaves. They became furious. They whimpered, whiney-pined 
snatched at each other wouldn't give way and finally one rolled 
over and couldn't roll back again just lay there kicking. I never 
saw such a thing. His twin then couldn't move the leaf at all. I 
pointed out the hideous moral to my invisible playmate. 

October i, 7920 

Suppose you didn't glance at a novel by a man called Prowse, 
A Gift of the Dus\. A simply terrible book awful ghastly! 
and about as good as it could be. It's just a kind of ... journal 
the man kept while he was at a sanatorium in Switzerland. It is 
the goods if you like! But he must be a wonderful man. I wish 
I knew if he is dead. Will you PLEASE ask Beresford if you see 
him (Collins is the publisher) ? I wish very much I could hear 

Letters 1920 

of him One's heart goes out to anyone who has faced an ex- 
perience as he has done. " One must tell everything everything." 
That is more and more real to me each day. It is, after all, the only 
treasure, the only heirloom we have to leave our own little 
grain of truth. 

October 4, 7920 

Walpole's novel which I mean to do for next week ought to be 
a very good prop to hang those very ideas on that I tried to com- 
municate to you. I want to take it seriously and really say why it 
fails for, of course, it does fail. But his " intention " was serious. 
I hope I'll be able to say what I do mean. I am no critic of the 
homely kind. " If you would only explain quietly in simple lan- 
guage," as L. M. said to me yesterday. Good Heavens, that is out 
of my power. 

The garden menagerie includes snakes a big chap as thick 
as my wrist, as long as my arm, slithered along the path this 
morning and melted into the bushes. It wasn't horrid or fearful, 
however. As to the mice Marie's piege seems to snap in the most 
revolting way. A fat one was offered to a marauding cat at the 
back door yesterday, but it refused it. " Polisson ! Tu veux un 
morceau de sucre avec ? " I heard Marie scold. She is very down 
on the cats here ; she says they are malgracieux. Yes, she is a most 
remarkable type. Yesterday afternoon, it was terribly gloomy and 
triste outside and she came in for the coffee tray, and said how she 
hated Mentone. She had lived here 8 years with her pauvre mari 
and then they lived 2 years in Nice where he died and was buried. 
She said she could bear Nice because " il se repose la-bas mais 
ici Madame il se promenait avec moi partout partout " 
and then she beat her little black crepe bodice and cried " trop de 
souvenirs, Madame trop de souvenirs." Oh, how I love people 
who feel deeply. How restful it is to live with them even in their 
" excitement." I think for writers, it is right to be with them 
but the feeling must be true not a hair's breadth assumed or 
I hate it as much as I love the other. As I write that I don't believe 
it any more. I could live with you and not care two pins if peo- 
ple " felt " anything at all in fact, I could draw away and be 

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very aloof and cold if they did / don't know. It's too diffi- 
cult. . . . 

I feel this letter is cold and poor; the fruit is not good to eat. It's 
rather like that withered fig tree. Do you know there is a kind 
of fig-tree which is supposed to be of the family of that unfor- 
tunate one it is dark stemmed and its leaves are black, they 
flap on the blackened boughs, they are like leaves that a flame has 
passed over. Terrible. I saw one once in a valley, a beautiful valley 
with a river flowing through it. There was linen drying on the 
banks and the women were beating the water and calling to one 
another gaily and there was this sad tree. L. M. who was 
with me said " of course the explanation is that one must never 
cease from giving." The fig tree had no figs so Christ cursed it. 
Did you ever! There's such a story buried under the whole thing 
isn't there ? if only one could dig it out. 

October j, 1920 

As for me I am in the open day and night. I never am in a room 
with the windows shut. By great good fortune I've got Marie who 
every day looks after me better. And she is so sympathetic that all 
she cooks tastes especially good. She looks after me and anxiously 
asks if " la viande etait assez saignante " but sanely in the 
way one not only can stand, but one loves, and when I go into the 
kitchen and say, " Marie, je tremble de faim " her " tant mieux " 
as she butters you a tartine is just absolutely right. So you see I do 
count ,my blessings; this house, this climate, and this good 
soul. . . . 

It's blowing guns to-day a choppy sea my favourite sea, 
brilliant blue with the white lifting lifting as far as one can sec, 
rather big unbroken waves near the shore. Butterflies love a day 
like this. They love to fling themselves up in the air and then be 
caught by the wind and rocked and flung and lightly fluttered. 
They pretend to be frightened. They cling as long as they can to 
a leaf and then take a butterfly long breath up they go 
away they sail, quivering with joy, and delight. It must be a kind 
of surf bathing for them flinging themselves down the wind. 

You know how when one woman carries the new born baby 

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the other woman approaches and lifts the handkerchief from the 
tiny face and bends over and says " Bless it." But I am always want- 
ing to lift the handkerchief off lizards' faces and pansies' faces 
and the house by moonlight. I'm always waiting to put a blessing 
on what I see. It's a queer feeling. 

October 8, 7920 

I am not in the least settled down to anything yet. The journal 
I have absolutely given up. I dare not keep a journal. I should 
always be longing to tell the truth. As a matter of fact, I dare 
not tell the truth I feel I must not. The only way to exist is to 
go on and try and lose oneself to get as far as possible away 
from this moment. Once I can do that all will be well. So it's stories 
or nothing. I expect I shall kick off soon perhaps to-day, who 
knows ? In the meantime I peg away too, in my fashion. 

October 7920 

Oh, if you knew what a joy your Shakespeare was. I straightway 
dipped in The Tempest and discovered Ariel riding on curled 
clouds. Isn't that adjective perfect ? I'd missed it before. I do think 
The Tempest is the most radiant, delicate, exquisite play. The at- 
mosphere is exactly the atmosphere of an island after a storm 
an island re-born out of the sea with Caliban tossed up for sea 
wrack and Ariel blowing in a shell. Oh, my divine Shakespeare!! 
Oh, most blessed genius. Again I read of the love of Ferdinand 
and Miranda, how they met and recognised each other and their 
hearts spake. Everything everything is new born and golden. 
God knows there are desert islands enough to go round the 
difficulty is to sail away from them but dream islands . . . 
they are rare, rare. 

Just as I folded that I had callers. A M. et Madame showed on 
to the Terrace very gracious but OH DEAR! What a ghastly idea 
it is. What can one say ? I can't play " ladies " unless I know the 
children I'm playing with. 

Now there's an asp come out of a hole a slender creature, red, 
about twelve inches long. It lies moving its quick head. It is very 

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evil looking but how much nicer than a caller. I was warned yes- 
terday against attempting to kill them. (Do you see me trying 
to kill them?) But they spring at you if you do. However, 
I'll catch this one for you at the risk of my life and put it in your 
Shakespeare for a marker at the scene where the old man carries 
in the basket of figs. You will have to hold your Shakespeare very 
firmly to prevent it wriggling, Anthony darling. 

Lovingly yours, 


October 7920 

I send the story. 1 As usual I am in a foolish panic about it. But 
I know I can trust you. You know how I choose my words; they 
can't be changed. And if you don't like it or think it is wrong just 
as it is I'd rather you didn't print it. I'll try to do another. 

Will you tell me if you've time what you think of it? 
Again (as usual) I burn to know and you see there is NO ONE here. 

It was one of my queer hallucinations; I wrote it straight off. 
And I've no copy. 

I hope you like my little boy. His name is HENNIE. 

October 7920 

It is such a Heavenly Day that I hardly know how to celebrate 
it or rather I keep on celebrating it having a kind of glorified 
Mass with full Choir. (But a bas the Roman Catholics!) It's just 
blue and gold. In the valley two workmen are singing their 
voices come pressing up, expanding, scattering in the light you 
know those Italian voices! I think from the sound they are build- 
ing a house: I am sure the walls will hold this singing for ever, 
and on every fine day, put your hand there on that curve or that 
arch, and there'll be a warmth, a faint vibration. . . . The sun 
woke me at 7 o'clock sitting sur mes pieds comme un chat d'or 
mais c'etait moi qui a fait ron-ron. And at 7.15 Marie brought 
dejeuner petits pains with miel des Alpes and hot coffee on a 
fringed tray. Her old bones were fairly singing, too. I said, " Vous 

1 The Young Girl. 

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^^r^f-^-^^^f-^^f^f-^r^*~^^^*~f~*~*~r- *~*~4~^^t~4~^r~~f-r' -*~-~ ~' ~' ~' ~~'~'-'*> 

allez au marche, Marie ? " She said, rather aggrieved " Mais 
comme vous voyez, Madame, je suis en train d'y aller" and 
then I noticed she was " dressed " for the occasion, i.e., she had 
flung on her shoulders a most minute black shawl with a tiny 
bobble fringe. This she always holds over her mouth to guard 
against le frais du matin when she scuttles off with her panier 
and filet. She really is a superb type. 

Good God! There are two lizards rushing up the palm tree! 
Lizards glisten, Heaven bless them. In the trunk of the palm high 
up some tiny sweet peas are growing and some frail dandelions. 
I love to see them. As I wrote that, one lizard fell simply fell with 
a crash (about 5000 feet) on to the terrace and the other looked 
over one of those palm chunks really it did. I've never seen such 
an affair. It was Wig that fell of course. Now she's picked her- 
self up and is flying back. She seems as good as new but it's 
a mad thing to do. 

October 13, 7920 

I am amazed at the sudden "mushroom growth" of cheap 
psycho-analysis everywhere. Five novels one after the other are 
based on it: it's in everything. And I want to prove it won't do 
it's turning Life into a case. And yet, of course, I do believe one 
ought to be able to not ought one's novel if it's a good one 
will be capable of being proved scientifically correct. Here the 
thing that's happening now is the impulse to write is a different 
impulse. With an artist one has to allow Oh tremendously 
for the sub-conscious element in his work. He writes he knows 
not what he's possessed. I don't mean, of course, always, but 
when he's inspired as a sort of divine flower to all his terrific 
hard gardening there comes this sub-conscious . . . wisdom. Now 
these people who are nuts on analysis seem to me to have no sub- 
conscious at all. They write to prove not to tell the truth. Oh, 
I am so dull aren't I ? I'll stop. I wish they'd stop, tho' ! It's such 
gross impertinence. 

Later. I've just been to the Villa Louise, stolen three whopping 
lemons and had a talk to their jardinier who comes here le ven- 
dredi to plant flowers autour du palmier. This man drew a design 

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of the flower bed on the gravel and then, after telling me the 
names of the flowers, he described them. You know, it was terrific 
to hear him. In trying to describe the scent. ..." Cest un 
parrr-fum " and then he threw back his head, put his thumb 
and finger to his nose took a long breath and suddenly exploded 
it in a kind of AAAhhh! almost staggering backwards over- 
come, almost fainting; and then, in telling me of des paquerettes, 
" ce sont de tout petite fleurs qui se regardent comme s'ils disent: 
c'est moi qui est plus jolie que toil " Oh dear me I wonder if it 
is so wonderful. I sat down on a bench and felt as though waves of 
health went flowing through me. To think the man cares like that 
responds laughs like he does and snips off a rosebud for you 
while he talks. Then I think of poor busmen and tube men and 
the ugliness of wet, dark London. It's wrong. People who are at 
all sensitive ought not to live there. I'll tell you (as it's my birthday 
to-morrow) a tale about this man. He came to see me. I had to en- 
gage him. First he passed me in the garden and went to Marie to 
ask for Madame Murry. Marie said " But you've seen her a 1 - 
ready " He said: "No there's only une petite personne 
une fillettc se quinze ans enfin sur la terrasse." Marie thought 
this a very great joke. Bit steep wasn't it? I expect I'll be about 
five by Xmas time just old enough for a Christmas tree. . . . 

Doctor Mee who was Mother's doctor, too can't get over 
my improvement in the last fortnight. He's staggered. But he says 
he does wish you would go to Gamage and buy her a pair of 
shoulder straps you know the things, I mean. They're to keep 
me from stooping. I stoop mainly from habit. I feel so much better 
that I almost have to tie myself to my chaise longue. But I know 
now is the moment to go slow. Alas, I'm so infernally wise in 
these things. Oh Heavenly day. I wish you'd shared my boisson 
that fresh lemon with a lump of sugar and Saint-Galmier. 

Every morning I have a sea-water bath in a saucer and to-day 
after it, still wet, I stood in the full sun to dry both windows 
wide open. One can't help walking about naked in the mornings 
one almost wades in the air. I'm writing, facing Italy great 
mountains, grey-gold with tufts of dark green against a sheer blue 
sky. Yes, I confess it's hard work to wait for you. Can we hope 
for more than how many? springs and summers. I don't 
want to miss one. 

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October ij, 1920 

I've just got back from Dr. B. I expect you'd like to know what 
he's like. He seems to me a very decent, intelligent soul quite 
as good as any other doctor. He approved absolutely of my life 
and conditions of life here and is going to keep an eye on me. 
The result of his examination was the eternal same. Of course, 
one can see that the disease is of long standing but there is no 
reason why provided subject to if and so on and so on. 
Not in the least depressing. Yet the foolish creature always does 
expect the doctor to put down his stethoscope to turn to her and 
say with quiet confidence: " I can cure you, Mrs. Murry." 

He has the same disease himself. I recognised his smile just 
the least shade too bright and his strange joyousness as he came 
to meet one just the least shade too pronounced his air of being 
a touch more alive than other people the gleam the faint 
glitter on the plant that the frost has laid a finger on. ... He is 
only about 33, and I feel that his experience at the war had changed 
him. In fact, he seemed to me fully like what a young Duhamel 
might be. I'm to go on just as I'm going until he sees me again, i.e., 
half an hour's walk the rest of the time in my chaise longue. 
There's really nothing to tell. He had such a charming little old- 
fashioned photograph in a round frame on his mantelpiece 
faded but so delightful a girl with her curls pinned back 
and a velvet ribbon round her throat. . . . His mother, I suppose. 
This seemed to me more important than all else. 

It's 3.30, Sunday afternoon. Marie is out and L. M. has gone off 
to tea with some cronies and a French poodle. So I have the house 
to myself. It's a cloudy, windless day. There is such a great 
stretch of sky to be seen from my terrasse that one's always con- 
scious of the clouds. One forgets that clouds are in London and 
here they are how shall I put it they are a changing back- 
ground to the silence. Extraordinary how many planes one can 
see one cloud and behind it another and then a lake and on the 
far side of the lake a mountain. I wonder if you would feed on 
this visible world as I do. I was looking at some leaves only yester- 
day idly looking and suddenly I became conscious of them 
of the amazing " freedom " with which they were " drawn " 
of the life in each curve but not as something outside oneself, 

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but as part of one as though like a magician I could put forth 
my hand and shake a green branch into my fingers from . . . ? 
And I feel as though one received accepted absorbed the 
beauty of the leaves even into one's physical being. Do you feel 
like that about things ? 

Ah, but you would have loved the golden moth that flew in here 
last night. It had a head like a tiny owl, a body covered with down 
wings divided into minute feathers and powdered with gold. 
I felt it belonged to a poem. 

Tomlinson's story was very good. 1 It just missed it, though at 
the end. I mean judging from the Tchekhov standpoint. The 
thing I prize, admire, and respect in his stories is his knowledge. 
They are true. I trust him. This is becoming most awfully im- 
portant to me a writer must have knowledge he must make 
one feel the ground is firm beneath his feet. The vapourings I 
read, the gush, wind give one a perfect Sehnsucht for some- 
thing hard to bite on. 

I don't know whether it's I that have " fallen behind " in this 
procession but truly the books I read nowadays astound me. 
Female writers discovering a freedom, a frankness, a license, to 
speak their hearts, reveal themselves as ... sex maniacs. There's 
not a relationship between a man and woman that isn't the one 
sexual relationship at its lowest. Intimacy is the sexual act. I am 
terribly ashamed to tell the truth ; it's a very horrible exposure. 

October 7920 

I return de la Mare's letter. I long to hear of your time with him. 
It's very queer; he haunts me here not a persistent or substantial 
ghost but as one who shares my joy in the silent world joy is not 
the word, I only used it because it conveys a stillness, a remoteness, 
because there is a far away sound in it. 

You know, I have felt very often lately as though the silence 
had some meaning beyond these signs, these intimations. Isn't it 
possible that if one yielded there is a whole world into which one 
is received ? It is so near and yet I am conscious that I hold back 
from giving myself up to it. What is this something mysterious 
that waits that beckons ? 

1 In a Coffee Shop. 

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And then suffering, bodily suffering such as I've known for 
three years. It has changed for ever everything even the appear- 
ance of the world is not the same there is something added. 
Everything has its shadow. Is it right to resist such suffering? Do 
you know I feel it has been an immense privilege. Yes, in spite of 
all. How blind we little creatures are! It's only the fairy tales we 
really live by. If we set out upon a journey, the more wonderful 
the treasure, the greater the temptations and perils to be overcome. 
And if someone rebels and says, Life isn't good enough on those 
terms, one can only say: " It is I " Don't misunderstand me. I don't 
mean a " thorn in the flesh " it's a million times more mysterious. 
It has taken me three years to understand this to come to see 
this. We resist, we are terribly frightened. The little boat enters 
the dark fearful gulf and our only cry is to escape " put me on 
land again." But it's useless. Nobody listens. The shadowy figure 
rows on. One ought to sit still and uncover one's eyes. 

I believe the greatest failing of all is to be frightened. Perfect 
Love casteth our Fear. When I look back on my life all my mistakes 
have been because I was afraid. . . . Was that why I had to look 
on death? Would nothing less cure me? You know, one can't 
help wondering, sometimes. . . . No, not a personal God or any 
such nonsense. Much more likely the soul's desperate 
choice. . . . 

P.S. Can you bring Ribni at Xmas ? There is a shop in Nice 
which cures Poupees cassees. When I read of it I almost tele- 
graphed for Ribni. I want him to be made good as new again. He 
haunts me Ah, I can see a story in this idea. . . . 

To Sydney and Violet Schiff Sunday 

October 24, 7920 

I did not answer your letter at the time because I was ill, and I 
become utterly weary of confessing it. 

Especially as it's the kind of thing one does so hate to hear 
one can't really sympathise with. People who are continually cry- 
ing out are exasperating. And they (or at any rate I) are dread- 
fully conscious of it. 

But now that I have been let out on ticket of leave at least 
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I long to write to you. You are never far from my thoughts. Some 
afternoons I feel positive that the voiture down below there is 
come from Roquebrune and that in another moment or two you 
will be here on the terrace. But there is too much to talk about. In 
London there never seems time. One is always just beginning 
when one is whirled away again. Here, one is so uninterrupted, 
it is like one immensely long night and one immensely long day. 

But it takes long before the tunes cease revolving in one's head, 
before the sound of the clapping and the sensation of the crowd 
ceases to possess one. One cannot hail solitude as one can hail 
a dark cab. To disentangle oneself completely takes long. . . . 
Nevertheless, I believe one must do it and no less if one 
wants to work. 

To J. M. Murry October 1920 

To be free to be free! That's all I ask. There's nine o'clock 
striking gently, beautifully from a steeple in the old town. The 
sound floats across the water. I wish you were here and we were 
alone. . . . Did I tell you I have a little bookcase made by a car- 
penter wot lives on the hill? He made it most rarely: dovetailed 
the corners isn't that right and cut a little ornament on the 
top shelves and then painted it pale yellow. 24 francs. His wife 
sent with it a bouquet of Zinnias, the like of which I've never 
seen. These people with their only child, a lovely little boy of 
about five, live in their own house with their own garden. He 
seems to work for his own pleasure. Where do they get the 
money? The little boy who's like an infant St. John wears little 
white overalls, pink socks and sandals. " Dis bon jour a Madame! 
Ou est ton chapeau! Vite! Ote-le! " and this hissed in a terrible 
voice with rolling eyes by the father. The little boy slowly looks up 
at his father and gives a very slow ravishing smile. 

It's really queer about these people. Marie was saying the mi- 
mosa tree leans it's got a list on it and, of course, prophesying 
that (" esperons toujours que non, Madame, mats . . ") it will 
fall and crush us all. When she described how the tree leant she 
took the posture she became a mimosa tree little black dress 
trimmed with crepe, white apron, grey hair changed into a tree. 

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And this was so intensely beautiful that it made me almost weep. 
It was Art, you know. I must get up. The day is still unbroken. 
One can hear a soft roaring from the sea and that's all. 

I've just got the milk book to pay. It's a minute pink carnet de 
. . . appurtenant a . . . commence le . . . you know the kind, 
with broad lines inside, and on the back the Table de Multiplica- 
tion but only up to 6 fois i font 6. Doesn't that make you see its 
real owner ? 

October 7920 

It's very cold here. I have a fire and a rug and a screen. But, of 
course, the cold is not London cold it's pure and it's somehow 
exciting. The leaves shake in the garden the rose buds arc very 
tight shut there's a kind of whiteness in the sky over the sea. 
I loved such days when I was a child. I love them here. In fact, 
I think Mentone must be awfully like N.Z. but ever so much 
better. The little milk-girl comes in at a run, letting the gate 
swing; she has a red stocking tied round her neck. Marie pre- 
dicts a strike, snow, no food, no fuel and only la volonte de Dieu 
will save us. But while she drees her weird -she begins to laugh 
and then forgets. A poor little cat, terrified, with pink eyes, looked 
in and begged and then slunk away. To my joy I hear it dashed 
into the dining room, seized a poisson on the console and made 
off with it. Hooray ! 

What silly little things to tell you but they make a kind of 
Life they are part of a Life that I LOVE. If you were here you'd 
know what I mean. It's a kind of freedom a sense of living 
not enduring not existing but being alive. I feel I could have 
children here for about a farthing each, and dress them in little 
bits cut off one's own clothes. It wouldn't matter as long as they 
had feathers in their hats. It's all so EASY. 

October 7920 

If a thing is important I have to put a *&* hand pointing to it 
because I know how sleepy you are in the morning and I imagine 
these devilish devices wake you or terrify you (pleasantly). Yes, 

really the papers are disgusting. gave Jane Burr a whole 

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column with Sorel and Syndicalism and any-fresh-fish-to-gut-on- 
the-problem-of-marriage-is-to-be-welcomed, etc. She makes me 
feel a very old-fashioned creature. I feel if I met her I should have 
to say: " And are you one of these New Women? " 

Did you see that Connie Ediss has had the thyroid gland treat- 
ment (she's 50) and is now become 19 and climbs trees. I should 
just think she did climb trees. That seemed to me terribly signifi- 
cant. I remember her singing: " It seemed a bit of all right " years 
ago. Poor old S. will become a great climber, I expect! 

I seem a bit silly to-day. It's the wind. I feel inclined to sing, 

" When I was young and had no sense 
I bought a Fiddle for eighteen pence." 

Perhaps it was Marie's lunch. A good cook is an amazing thing. 
And we have never had one. I'm interrupted by the electrician 
who comes to mend a wire. He is a boy of certainly not more than 
14 in a blue overall. Just a child standing on the table and fixing 
wires and turning over tools (rattling them!) in a box. I don't 
know The world is changing. He's a very nice little boy. He 
asked Marie pour une echelle. We haven't one. " Donnez-moi une 
chaise." She brought one, " C'est trop bas. Vous avez une table 
solide" (as tho' none of your fandangles here). But she scorns 
him and made him stand on a newspaper nearly tied a bib 
round him. 

To Hugh Walpole October 27, 7920 

I must answer your letter immediately. It has dropped into the 
most heavenly fair morning. I wish instead of writing you were 
here on the terrace and you'd let me talk of your book which I far 
from detested. What an impression to convey! My trouble is I 
never have enough space to get going to say what I mean to 
say fully. That's no excuse, really. But to be called very unfair 
that hurts, awfully, and I feel that by saying so you mean I'm 
not as honest as I might be. I'm prejudiced. Well, I think we're 
all of us more or less prejudiced, but cross my heart I don't take 
reviewing lightly and if I appear to it's the fault of my unfor- 
tunate manner. 

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Now I shall be dead ]ran\. And please don't answer. As one 
writer to another (tho' I'm only a little beginner, and fully 
realise it). 

The Captives impressed me as more like a first novel than any 
genuine first novel I've come across. Of course, there were signs 
enough that it wasn't one but the movement of it was the 
movement of one trying his wings, finding out how they would 
bear him, how far he could afford to trust them, that you were 
continually risking yourself, that you had, for the first time, really 
committed yourself in a book. I wonder if this will seem to you 
extravagant impertinence. I honoured you for it. You seemed to 
me determined to shirk nothing. You know that strange sense of 
insecurity at the last, the feeling " I know all this. I know more. I 
know down to the minutest detail and perhaps more still, but 
shall I dare to trust myself to tell all ? " It is really why we write, 
as I see it, that we may arrive at this moment and yet it is step- 
ping into the air to yield to it a kind of anguish and rapture. 
I felt that you appreciated this, and that, seen in this light, your 
Captives was almost a spiritual exercise in this kind of courage. 
But in fact your peculiar persistent consciousness of what you 
wanted to do was what seemed to me to prevent your book from 
being a creation. That is what I meant when I used the clumsy 
word "task"; perhaps "experiment" was nearer my meaning. 
You seemed to lose in passion what you gained in sincerity and 
therefore " the miracle " didn't happen. I mean the moment when 
the act of creation takes place the mysterious change when 
you are no longer writing the book, // is writing, it possesses you. 
Does that sound hopelessly vague ? 

But there it is. After reading The Captives I laid it down think- 
ing: Having " broken with his past " as he has in this book, hav- 
ing " declared himself," I feel that Hugh Walpole's next novel 
will be the one to look for. Yes, curse me. I should have said it ! 

I sympathise more than I can say with your desire to escape 
from autobiography. Don't you feel that what English writers 
lack to-day is experience of Life. I don't mean that superficially. 
But they are self-imprisoned. I think there is a very profound dis- 
tinction between any kind of confession and creative work not 
that that rules out the first by any means. 

About the parson and his sister. Yes, they are truly observed, 

= 338 = 

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but they wouldn't come into my review because I didn't think 
they really came into the book ! What was Maggie to them or 
they to Maggie? What did they matter to Maggie what was 
their true relation ? I can't see it. I can't see the reason for those 
two. I can imagine Maggie forgetting them utterly the moment 
she set foot in London. That their religion was more foreign to 
her than the other one doesn't need to be told. The point is Mag- 
gie never was in Skeaton; she was somewhere else. As to her holi- 
day in that place where everything was green I never knew 
what happened on that holiday ? The parson's sister what a story 
you might have made of her and Paul! (I don't think that Paul's 
passion for Maggie would have lasted, either. He would have be- 
come frightened of her, physically and terribly ashamed.) Yes, 
I feel Skeaton could have had a book to itself with Paul's sister 
getting old you know, her descent into old age, her fears in- 
creasing, and then something like the Uncle Matthew affair break- 
ing into her life. . . . 

And I stick to what I said about Caroline. Yes, you might have 
trusted Caroline, but a young female wouldn't. If Caroline had 
come to her father's door Maggie would have stiffened, have been 
on her guard immediately. As to trusting her with a letter to 
Martin never! 

Some of their love making was very beautiful it had that 
tragic, youthful quality. 

But enough. Forgive this long letter. I'll try to see more round 
the books. I've no doubt at all I'm a bad reviewer. Your letter made 
me want to shake hands with you across the vast. 

I hope this isn't too illegible. But I'm rather a feeble creature 
in a chaise longue. 

To J. M. Murry October 7920 

I am exceedingly glad you joined hands with the Oxford Pro- 
fessori. The Daily Mail FOAMED to-day on the subject. It almost 
went so far as to say the library at Liege and such acts of burning 
were by Professors only. It but let it pass! In the Times I noted 
a book by a Doctor Schinz not a good book, but the Times no- 
ticed it as though Schinz were kneeling on Podsnap's doormat. 

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'Letters 1920 

How long can it go on ! You know whenever I go away I realise 
that it has happened. The change has come. Nothing is the same. 
I positively feel one has no right to run a paper without preach- 
ing a gospel. (I know you do, but I mean with all the force of 
one's soul.) I get an evangelist feeling, when I read Fashion News 
in the DM. and then Strike News and Irish News and so many 
thousands out of work. But above and beyond that I realise the 
" spiritual temper " of the world. I feel as though the step has been 
taken we are over the edge. Is it fantastic ? Who is going to pull 
us up? I certainly had no end of an admiration for L. G. but then 
he's capable of that speech on reprisals which really was a vile 
speech from a " statesman." It was perfectly obvious he had no 
intention of saying what he did when he got up to speak he 
was carried away. It is all over really. That's why I shall be so 
thankful when you pack your rucksack and come over here. The 
only sort of paper for the time is an out and out personal, dead 
true, dead sincere paper in which we spoke our HEARTS and 

You know there are moments when I want to make an appeal 
to all our generation who do believe that the war has changed 
everything to come forward and let's start a crusade. But I know, 
darling, I am not a crusader and it's my job to dwell apart and 
write my best for those that come after. 

Does your soul trouble you ? Mine does. I feel that only now 
(October 1920) do I desire to be saved. I realise what salvation 
means and I long for it. Of course, I am not speaking as a Chris- 
tian or about a personal God, But the feeling is ... I believe (and 
VERY MUCH); help thou my unbelief. But it's to myself I cry 
to the spirit, the essence of me that which lives in Beauty. Oh, 
these words. And yet I should be able to explain. But I'm impa- 
tient with you. I always " know you understand and take it for 
granted." But just very lately I seem to have seen my whole past 
to have gone through it to have emerged, very weak and 
very new. The soil (which wasn't at all fragrant) has at last pro- 
duced something which isn't a weed but which I do believe (after 
Heaven knows how many false alarms) is from the seed which 
was sown. But it's taken 32 years in the dark. . . . 

And I long for goodness to live by what is permanent in 
the soul. 

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It all sounds vague. You may wonder what induces me to write 
this. But as 1 walked up and down outside the house this evening 
the clouds heaped on the horizon noble, shining clouds, the 
deep blue waves they set me thinking again. 

October 7920 

I would have enjoyed Goodyear pa-man. I remember giving 
F. G. my photo and he telling me his father had said it was a fine 
head. I remember how he laughed and so did I and I said " I 
shall have to grow a pair of horns and have it stuffed to hang on 
Murry's door." When I recall Goodyear I can't believe he is 
nowhere just as when I recall Chummie he comes before me, 
warm, laughing, saying " Oh, abso/#tely." What a darling boy 
he was ! 

I love this place more and more. One is conscious of it as I 
used to be conscious of New Zealand. I mean if I went for a walk 
there and lay down under a pine tree and looked up at the wispy 
clouds through the branches I came home plus the pine tree 
don't you know ? Here it's just the same. I go for a walk and I 
watch the butterflies in the heliotrope and the young bees and 
some old bumble ones and all these things are added unto me. 
Why I don't feel like this in England Heaven knows. But my 
light goes out in England, or it's a very small and miserable shiner. 

This isn't a letter. It's just a note. Yes. I shall provide small pink 
carnets for our accounts at Xmas. Slates, too, with holes burnt 
in them for the sponge string. Did you ever burn a hole in the 
frame ? Thrilling deed. It was Barry Waters' speciality, with his 
initials burnt, too and a trimming. I can see it now. 

October 30, 7920 

Your Tuesday letter came, telling me that you were reading 
Mrs. Asquith. I read certain parts of her book and felt just that 
there was something decent. At the same time the whole book 
seems to me /^-decent. Perhaps I feel more than anything that 
she's one of those people who have no past and no future. She's 
capable of her girlish pranks and follies to-day in fact, she's 

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Letters 7920 

at the mercy of herself now and for ever as she was then. And that's 
bad. We only live by somehow absorbing the past changing it. 
I mean really examining it and dividing what is important from 
what is not (for there is waste) and transforming it so that it be- 
comes part of the life of the spirit and we are free of it. It's no 
longer our personal past, it's just in the highest possible sense, our 
servant. I mean that it is no longer our master. 1 With Mrs. A. this 
process (by which the artist and the " living being " lives) never 
takes place. She is for ever driven. 

" I am the Cup that thirsteth for the Wine " 

These half-people are very queer very tragic, really. They are 
neither simple nor are they artists. They are between the two 
and yet they have the desires (no, appetites) of both. I believe their 
secret whisper is: 'If only I had found THE MAN I might have 
been anything . . ." But the man isn't born and so they turn to 
life and parade and preen and confess and dare and lavish 
themselves on what they call Life. " Come woo me woo me." 

How often I've seen that in as her restless distracted glance 

swept the whole green country-side. . . . 

(By the way, I do love Sir Toby's saying to Viola, " Come taste 
your legs, Sir. Put them in motion," when he wanted her to leap 
and fly. I wish I had a little tiny boy to say that to.) 

There's a violent N.W. wind to-day a howling one I had 
to go into town. The great immense waves were sweeping right 
up to the road and over. I wish you'd seen them. Three brigs are 
in the sailors' pants hanging on lines and dancing hornpipes. 
Leaves are falling; it's like autumn. But the shops are full of 
flowers and everywhere little girls, wrapped up to the eyes, go by 
at a run carrying a bouquet of chrysanthemums in a paper 
For to-morrow is Le Toussaint. 

October 1920 

You say you would " dearly love to know exactly what I feel " 
I thought I had told you. But my writing is so bad, my expres- 
sion so vague that I expect I didn't make myself clear. I'll try to 

1 That is the wrong image. I used to think this process was fairly unconscious. 
Now I feel just the contrary. (K. M.'s note.) 

= 342 = 

Letters 1920 

" Between the acting of a dreadful thing 
w . And the first motion, all the interim is 

, , . Like a phantasma or a dreadful dream; 

i ? _, 1S The genius and the mortal instruments 

, | Are then in council; and the state of man 

Like to a little Kingdom suffers then 
The nature of an insurrection." 

The " thing " was not always " dreadful " neither was the 
" dream," and you must substitute " spirit " for genius otherwise 
there you have my life as I see it up till now complete with all 
the alarms, enthusiasms, terrors, excitements in fact the nature 
of an insurrection. 

I've been dimly aware of it many times I've had moments 
when it has seemed to me that this wasn't what my little King- 
dom ought to be like yes, and longings and regrets. But only 
since I came away this time have I fully realised it confronted 
myself as it were, looked squarely at the extraordinary " condi- 
tions " of my existence. 

... It wasn't flattering or pleasant or easy. I expect your sins 
are of the subconscious; they are easier to forgive than mine. 
I've acted my sins, and then excused them or put them away with 
" it doesn't do to think about these things " or (more often) " it 
was all experience." But it hasn't ALL been experience. There is 
waste destruction, too. So I confronted myself. As I write I 
falsify slightly. I can't help it; it's all so difficult. The whole thing 
was so much deeper and more difficult than I've described it 
subtler less conscious and more conscious if you know what 
I mean. I didn't walk up and down the room and groan, you 
know. As I am talking to you I'll dare say it all took place on an- 
other plane, because then we can smile at the description and yet 
mean something by it. 

And I don't want to imply that the Battle is over and here I am 
victorious. I've escaped from my enemies emerged that is as 
far as I've got. But it is a different state of being to any I've known 
before and if I were to sin now it would be mortal. 

There. Forgive this rambling involved statement. 

Monday. Midi: waiting for lunch. " En tirant la langue comme 
un chien " as they say here. 

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Letters 1920 


It's simply heavenly here to-day warm, still, with wisps of 
cloud just here and there and le ciel deep blue. Everything is ex- 
panding and growing after the rain; the buds on the tea roses are 
so exquisite that one feels quite faint regarding them. A pink rose, 
" chinesy pink " in my mind, is out there are multitudes of 
flowers and buds. And the freezias are up and the tangerines are 
turning. A painter whose ladder I see against the house across 
the valley has been singing ancient Church music awfully com- 
plicated stuff. But what a choice! How much more suited to the 
day and the hour than and now, I'm dished. For every song I 
wanted to find ridiculous seems somehow charming and appropri- 
ate and quite equally lovable. 

I put more whitewash on the old woman's face 
Than I did on the gar den wall ! 

for instance. That seems to me a thoroughly good song. You 
know the first two lines are: 

Up an' down, up an' down, in an' out the window 
I did no good at all. 

Sam Mayo used to sing it. Things weren't so bad in those days. 
I really believe everything was better. The tide of barbarism wasn't 
flowing in. 

I was all wrong about the house painter!! He's just come back 
from lunch in a grey flannel suit put on his overall and 
started singing in English! Elizabethan airs. He must be some 
sensible fellow who's taken the little house and is doing the job 
himself. He makes me think of you but his singing is different 

more difficult. . . . 

Dream I. 

I was living at home again in the room with the fire-escape. It 
was night: Father and Mother in bed. Vile people came into my 
room. They were drunk. B. led them. " You don't take me in, old 
dear," said she. " You've played the Lady once too often, Miss 
coming it over me." And she shouted, screamed Femme marquee 
and banged the table. I rushed away. I was going away next morn- 
ing so I decided to spend the night in the dark streets and went 
to a theatre in Piccadilly Circus. The play, a costume play of the 

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Letters 7920 

Restoration, had just begun. The theatre was small and packed. 
Suddenly the people began to speak too slowly, to mumble: they 
looked at each other stupidly. One by one they drifted off the 
stage and very slowly a black iron curtain was lowered. The peo- 
ple in the audience looked at one another. Very slowly, silently, 
they got up and moved towards the doors stole away. 

An enormous crowd filled the Circus: it was black with people. 
They were not speaking a low murmur came from it that was 
all. They were still. A white-faced man looked over his shoulder 
and trying to smile he said: " The Heavens are changing already; 
there are six moons! " 

Then I realised that our earth had come to an end. I looked up. 
The sky was ashy-green; six livid quarters swam in it. A very fine 
soft ash began to fall. The crowd parted. A cart drawn by two 
small black horses appeared. Inside there were Salvation Army 
women doling tracts out of huge marked boxes. They gave me 
one! " Are you corrupted? " 

It got very dark and quiet and the ash fell faster. Nobody 

Dream II. 

In a cafe G. met me. " Katherine, you must come to my table. 
I've got Oscar Wilde there. He's the most marvellous man I ever 
met. He's splendid ! " G. was flushed. When he spoke of Wilde 
he began to cry tears hung on his lashes, but he smiled. 

Oscar Wilde was very shabby. He wore a green overcoat. He 
kept tossing and tossing back his long greasy hair with the whitest 
hand. When he met me he said: "Oh Katherine!" very 

But I did find him a fascinating talker. So much so that I asked 
him to come to my home. He said would 12.30 to-night do ? When 
I arrived home it seemed madness to have asked him. Father and 
Mother were in bed. What if Father came down and found that 
chap Wilde in one of the chintz armchairs ? Too late now. I waited 
by the door. He came with Lady M. I saw he was disgustingly 
pleased to have brought her. He said, " Katherine's hand the 
same gentle hand!" as he took mine. But again when we sat 
down I couldn't help it. He was attractive as a curiosity. He 
was fatuous and brilliant! 

= 34S = 

Letters 7920 

" You know, Katherine, when I was in that dreadful place I 
was haunted by the memory of a cafe. It used to float in the air 
before me a little delicate thing stuffed with cream and with the 
cream there was something scarlet. It was made of pastry and I 
used to call it my little Arabian Nights cake. But I don't remem- 
ber the name. Oh, Katherine, it was torture. It used to hang in 
the air and smile at me. And every time I resolved that next time 
they let someone come and see me I would ask them to tell me 
what it was but every time, Katherine, I was ashamed. Even 
now . . ." 

I said, " Mille feuilles a la creme ? " 

At that he turned round in the armchair and began to sob, and 
M., who carried a parasol, opened it and put it over him. . . . 

I'm not up to much to-day. Yesterday was dark and stormy: 
to-day is too. And in spite of my feelings the weather affects me 
physically. I fly so high that when I go down it's a drop. Noth- 
ing serious; just a touch of cold, but with it to "bear it com- 
pany " a black mood. Don't pay any attention to it. I expect it will 
have lifted utterly by the time this reaches you. And it's really 
caused by a queer kind of pressure which is work to be done. 
/ am writing do you know the feeling ? and until this story is 
finished I am engulfed. It's not a tragic story either but there 
you are. It seizes me swallows me completely. I am Jonah in the 
whale and only you could charm that old whale to disgorge me. 
Your letters did for a minute but now I'm in again and we're 
thrashing through deep water. I fully realise it. It's the price we 
have to pay we writers. I'm lost gone possessed and every- 
body who comes near is my enemy. 

"November 3, 7920 

Here it is under my hand finished another story about as 
long as The Man Without a Temperament perhaps longer. It's 
called The Stranger, a " New Zealand " story. My depression has 
gone; so it was just this. And now it's here, thank God and the 
fire burns and it's warm and tho' the wind is howling it can 
howl. What a QUEER business writing is! I don't know. I don't 

= 346 = 

Letters 7920 

believe other people are ever as foolishly excited as I am while I'm 
working. How could they be ? Writers would have to live in trees. 
I've been this man, been this woman. I've stood for hours on the 
Auckland Wharf. I've been out in the stream waiting to be berthed 
I've been a seagull hovering at the stern and a hotel porter 
whistling through his teeth. It isn't as though one sits and watches 
the spectacle. That would be thrilling enough, God knows. But 
one is the spectacle for the time. If one remained oneself all the 
time like some writers can it would be a bit less exhausting. It's 
a lightning change affair, tho'. But what does it matter! I'll keep 
this story for you to read at Xmas. I only want to give it to you 
now. Accept my new story. Give it your blessing. 

To Sydney Schiff 'November 4, 7920 

Yes, there are weak spots in A Gift from the Dusl^ but com- 
pared to the unworthy, stupifying, untruthful rubbish of to-day it 
did not do, I felt, to comment on them. The worst of it is, now- 
adays, that the majority of novels is so bad one becomes almost 
fearful of the strength of one's feeling for a " good " one. There 
were touches in that book that moved me tremendously. I felt that 
in the intimacy between Stephen and Mary Prowse was, many 
times, speaking a language which I long in vain to hear spoken. 
The intimacy of two beings who are essential to each other who 
is going to write that ? And yet Love that is less than that one 
wearies of hearing of it. 

I wish there were six or seven writers who wrote for themselves 
and let the world go hang. But where are they ? 

To /. M. Murry Thursday 

November 4, 7920 

Thursday: I had about i inch of mouse's tail from you to-day, 
but it was the gay and wavy end so it didn't matter. Twas writ on 
Monday. . . . There's a debonair wind blowing to-day and a very 
pale, faint, jonquil sun. I send you Hugh Walpole's letter. He 
seems to me most awfully nice; and it is in reply to one which I 
sent him telling him what I really did think of his book I mean 

= 347 = 

Letters 7920 

as man to man I said: " Just for once I'll be dead fran\ " and 
you know what that means. But I felt nobody else ever would and 
it was an opportunity. Besides his letter somehow called for one's 
deep sincerity. And instead of sending mine back with " This is 
outrageous " he replies so gently. 

W. wrote yesterday too touched one's heart. His wife has 
been very ill, she's had an operation and so on, and poor old W. is 
shattered. . . . His letter has actually " by the Grace of God " and 
" D. V." in it. What old Death can't shake out of us! But it's very 
touching to know how frail is one's hold on Picture Galleries and 
Editions de Luxe. 

If the Last Trump ever did sound would it frighten us? I 
don't think it would in the least. If God didn't take us both into 
Heaven I'd rather be in Hell and out of sight of anyone so stupid. 

(I told poor old L. M. yesterday that after I died to PROVE there 
was no immortality I would send her a coffin worm in a match 
box. She was gravely puzzled.) 

November 5, 7920 

Oh, by the way, I had my photo taken yesterday for a sur- 
prise for you. I'll only get des epreuves on Monday tho'. I should 
think it ought to be extraordinary. The photographer took off my 
head and then balanced it on my shoulders again at all kinds of 
angles as tho' it were what Violet would call an art pot. "Ne 
bougez PAS en souriant leggerreMENT Bouche CLOSE." A kind 
of drill. Those penny studios fascinate me. I must put a story in 
one one day. They are the most temporary shelters on earth. Why 
is there always a dead bicycle behind a velvet curtain ? Why does 
one always sit on a faded piano stool ? And then, the plaster pillar, 
the basket of paper flowers, the storm background and the smell. 
I love such endroits. 

November 7920 

I am awfully excited to-day. It's for this reason. I have made an 
offer to J. for this villa for one year from May ist next and tho' 
the offer has not been accepted it has also not been refused. 

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Chances are even. Oh dear, what torture! Perhaps you don't know 
that my feelings towards this villa are so fearfully intense that I 
think I shall have to be evicted if she doesn't give it to me. It's the 
first real home of my own I have ever loved. Pauline yes, it 
wasn't home tho', neither was Runcton, not even Hampstead. Not 
really, not with this thrill. This little place is and always will be 
for me the one and only place, I feel. My heart beats for it as 
it beats for Karori. Isn't it awful ? And for US it is made in every 
single particular. True there's no salle de bain. But there's a huge 
saucer bath and a spung as big as me. So what matters! The divine 
incomparable situation is the trick, I suppose. Heaven from dawn 
to dawn. Walking on the terrace by starlight looking through my 
vieux palmier I could weep for joy running into the garden 
to see how many more buds are out in the morning is to run 
straight at into a blessing. The fires all burn but not fright- 
fully the doors shut the kitchen is big and the larder is down 
10 steps that send a chill to one's knees. The garde-linge is im- 
mense, all fitted with cupboards and shelves. The luggage is kept 
there and the umbrellas and the flags that flew at my gate on the 
nth. One gets one's parasol from the garde-linge. Your feltie 
would be there, too. There's enough garden for you to bien gratter 
in. At the back we could grow veg. In fack, it is the dearest, most 
ideal little corner. And private just the next thing to an island. 

Hold thumbs for me. Truly this is a great turning point. I'm try- 
ing to be calm, but it's not easy with such bliss in the balance 
I had to offer an immense sum 6000 francs. 

Am I a little bit mad? You will find ISOLA BELLA in poker 
work on my heart. The baths are only ten minutes away from you 
in the summer, sea baths with splash boards no, spring boards 
for you to plop off. I wait outside with a bun for you with big cur- 
rant eyes (the bun I mean!). 

"November 1920 

I've just finished a story called The Ladies' Maid which I'm 
sending for the paper. I do hope you will care to print it. It's what 
I meant when I said a Xmas story. Dear knows, Xmas doesn't 
come in it after all and you may think I'm a fraud. But I think, all 
the same, people might like to read it at Xmas time. The number 

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of letters I've had about Miss Brill! I think I am very fortunate 
to have people like my stories don't you ? But I must say it does 
surprise me. This one I'd like you and de la Mare to like other 
people don't matter. 

It's hell to know one could do so much and be bound to jour- 
nalism for bread. If I was a proper journalist I'd give the day to 
reviewing and so on but no! Reviewing is on my chest AND 
a sense of GUILT the whole week! However it can't be helped. 
I'll win out and then I don't want to read another novel for 

But isn't it grim to be reviewing Benson when one might be 
writing one's own stories which one will never have time to write, 
on the best showing! 

Personally I want to make money by my stories now I can't 
live poor can't worry about butter and cabs and woollen dresses 
and the chemist's bill and work too. I don't want to live rich 
God forbid but I must be free and ga coute cher aujourd'hui. 

The story will go to you Wednesday morning. A typist has been 
found at 7 francs a 1000. 1 think she is mad as well. But I can't af- 
ford not to send corrected copies. 

What a horrible note this is. And there's the evening star, like 
an emerald hanging over the palm. Forgive me, evening star. 
These are only sparks on my coat they are not my real fur. But 
the ancien couteau burns faintly in my left lung to-night and 
that makes me wicked. Wicked, but loving. 

November 1920 

Always examine both sides. In my house both sides are but- 

Re your review of Mrs. Asquith. I thought it was very good but 
. . . your feeling was really contained in your words : " The type 
it reveals is not very intriguing." She isn't your game. When all 
is said and done I feel that you haven't time for her and you don't 
care a Farthing Taster whether she made her horse walk upstairs 
or downstairs or in my lady's chamber. She would weary you. 
What is there really to get hold of ? There's nothing in the 
sense you mean. The direct method (no, I can't for the life of me 
" see " the other) of examining the specimen isn't really much 
good except in so far as one can . . . make certain deductions 

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Letters 7920 

discover certain main weaknesses and falsities. But it's a bit like 
trying to operate on a diseased mind by cutting open a brain. 
The devil is Oh the very devil is that you may remove every 
trace of anything that shouldn't be there and make no end of 
a job of it and then in her case, in the case of all such women 
the light comes back into the patient's eyes and with it the vaguest 
of vague elusive maddening smiles. . . . Do you know what I 
mean ? Here's, I think, the root of the matter. What IS Insensitive- 
ness ? We know or we could find out by examination what it is 
NOT but it seems to me the quality hasn't been discovered yet. I 
mean its x it's a subject for research. It most certainly isn't only 
the lac\ of certain qualities: it's a kind of positive unknown. Does 
all this sound most awful nonsense to you? My vocabulary is 
awful, but I mean well and I faint, I thirst to talk. My landscape 
is terribly exciting at present. I never knew it contained such 
features or such fauna (they are animals various, aren't they?). 
But I do want a gentleman prepared to pay his own exes, to join 
me in my expedition. Oh, won't YOU come ? No one else will do. 
But when you do it's a bit sickening all my wild beasts get a bit 
funny-looking they don't look such serious monsters any more. 
Instead of lions and tigers it's apt to turn into an affair of: 

" The turkey ran pas' with a flag in his mas' 
An' cried out: ' What's the mattah ? ' " 

Not that I think for one minute that you don't treat me au 
GRAND scrieux or would dare to question my intelligence, of 
course not. All the same there you are Alone, I'm no end of a 
fillasoafer but once you join me in the middle of my seriousness 
my deadly seriousness I see the piece of pink wool I have 
put on your hair (and that you don't know is there). 

I sometimes wonder whether the act of surrender is not one of the 
greatest of all the highest. It is one of the (most) difficult of all. Can it be 
accomplished or even apprehended except by the aiistocrats of this world? 
You see it's so immensely complicated. It " needs " real humility and at the 
same time an absolute belief in one's own essential freedom. It is an act of 
faith. At the last moments like all great acts it is pure rh\. This is true for 
me as a human being and as a writer. Dear Heaven how hard it is to let 
go to slip into the blue. And yet one's creative life depends on it and one 
desires to do nothing else. I shouldn't have begun on this in the corner of a 
letter, darling. It's not the place. 

= 3SI = 

Letters 1920 

To Richard Murry "November 7920 

It's 7.15 A.M. and I've just had breakfast in a room lit with great 
gorse yellow patches of sunlight. Across one patch there's a feath- 
ery pattern that dances that's from the mimosa tree outside. 
The two long windows are wide open they are the kind that 
open in half with wings, you know so much more generous 
than the English kind. A wasp is paddling his pettitoes in the 
honey-glass and the sky is a sort of pale lapus lazuli. Big glancing 
silver ducks of light dive in and out of the sea. 

This kind of weather has gone on for over a week without one 
single pause. I take a sun bath every morning costume de bain: 
a black paper fan and it has an awfully queer effect on one. I 
mean all this radiance has. You know those rare moments when 
it's warm enough to lie on your back and bask it's a kind of 
prolongation of that. One tries to behave like a sober sensible 
creature and to say " thank you " to the postman and " no thank 
you " to the umbrella mender but all the time one is hiding broad 
beams. So I slink away out of sight of everybody, down the steps 
from the terrace and stand underneath a tree called a datura and 
there, privately, I gloat. This tree, Sir, is a sight for you. It has 
small, close, grey-green leaves ; the buds in their first stage are soft 
green pods. They open and the flower, lightly folded, springs out 
and gradually it opens into a long bell-like trumpet about 8 inches 
long gold coloured with touches of pale red. But the drawing 
in the buds and the petals ! The gaiety of the edges the free- 
dom with which Papa Cosmos has let himself go on them! I 
have looked at this tree so long that it is transplanted to some 
part of my brain for a further transplanting into a story one 

You must come here one day, and live here for a bit. I don't see 
how you couldn't be happy. I appreciate your feeling that you 
would not care to work on a large canvas in England. I feel just 
the same about writing. I'm always afraid my feelings won't last 
long enough for me to have expressed all that I wanted to. There's 
something in the atmosphere which may blow cold. And there's 
always a sense of rush a strain. If the Muse does deign to visit 
me I'm conscious all the time that she's got her eye on the clock, 
she's catching the funicular to Olympus at 5.30 or the special to 

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Parnassus at 5.15. Whereas here, one begins to tell the time by 
the skies again. 

As for little K. M., she's a-going it as usual. The more I do the 
more I want to do, it will always be the same. The further one 
climbs the more tops of mountains one sees. But it's a matter for re- 
joicing as long as one can keep the coffin from the door. I don't 
care a pin about the old wolf. I must get up and take the earwigs 
out of the roses. Why should they choose roses ? But they do and 
I go against Nature in casting them forth. 

November 1920 

What you quote from Van Gogh is very fine? I would give you 
it's twin sentence if I had Tchekhov's letters here. Tchekhov felt 
just life that. I, too, suspect and don't feel comfortable in this 
" art life." What I mean is when C. used to write me endless pages 
about good and bad art I always wanted to hang my head because 
I felt she wasn't wording. She wasn't really getting down to it 
(don't misunderstand me) humbly. 

I don't believe there are any short cuts to Art. Victory is the re- 
ward of battle just exactly as it is in Life. And the more one knows 
of one's " soldiers " the better chance one has. That's not an ab- 
solutely true analogy tho'. The thing is more subtle. 

But what I do believe with my whole soul is that one's outlooJ^ 
is the climate in which one's art either thrives or doesn't grow. 
I am dead certain that there is no separating Art and Life. And 
no artist can afford to leave out Life. If we mean to work we must 
go straight to Life for our nourishment. There's no substitute. 
But I am violent on this subjick. I must leave it. 

I am stuck in bed by my old doctor who says I must stay 
here another week at least. Pity poor little K. I hate bed. I shall 
never go to bed in Heaven or eat anything off a tray. If a cherubim 
and a seraphim come winging their way towards me with some 
toast and jelly I shall pop like a chestnut into Hell and be roasted. 

1 "... Nevertheless I find in my work a certain reverberation of what fascinated 
me. I know that Nature told me something, that she spoke to me, and that I took 
down her message in shorthand. Perhaps my transcript contains words that arc 
undecipherable; belike there are faults and omissions in it too, still it may possess 
something that the wood, the beach or the figures said." 

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To J. M. Murry 

About the punctuation in The Stranger. No, my dash isn't quite 
a feminine dash. (Certainly when I was young it was.) But it 
was intentional in that story. I was trying to do away with the three 
dots. They have been so abused by female and male writers that 
I fight shy of them much tho' I need them. The truth is 
punctuation is infernally difficult. If I had time I'd like to write 
an open letter to the A. on the subject. It's boundaries need to be 
enlarged. But I won't go into it now. I'll try, however, to remem- 
ber commas. It's a fascinating subject, ca, one that I'd like to talk 
over with you. If only there was time I'd write all one wants to 
write. There seems less and less time. And more and more books 
arrive. That's not a complaint. But it is rather cursed that we 

should have to worry about when we might be writing 

our own books isn't it ? 

And about Poison 1 I could write about that for pages. But I'll 
try and condense what I've got to say. The story is told by (evi- 
dently) a worldly, rather cynical (not wholly cynical) man 
against himself (but not altogether) when he was so absurdly 
young. You know how young by his idea of what woman is. She 
has been up to now, only the vision, only she who passes. You 
realise that ? And here he has put all his passion into this Beatrice. 
It's promiscuous love, not understood as such by him; perfectly 
understood as such by her. But you realise the vie de luxe they are 
living the very table sweets, liqueurs, lilies, pearls. And you 
realise? she expects a letter from someone calling her away? 
Fully expects it ? That accounts for her farewell AND her declara- 
tion. And when it doesn't come even her commonness peeps out 
the newspaper touch of such a woman. She can't disguise her 
chagrin. She gives herself away. . . . He, of course, laughs at it 
now, and laughs at her. Take what he says about her " sense of 
order " and the crocodile. But he also regrets the self who, dead 
privately, would have been young enough to have actually wanted 
to Marry such a woman. But I meant it to be light tossed off 
and yet through it Oh, subtly the lament for youthful belief. 
These are the rapid confessions one receives sometimes from a 
glove or a cigarette or a hat. 

1 See Something Childish, p. 250. 

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To Sydney Schiff December i, 1920 

About the Russians. I agree that translations are perfectly ter- 
rible. The peculiar flatness of them is so strange and it's just that 
flatness which the story or whatever it is mustn't have One 
feels it's superimposed. And yet and yet though I hate to 
agree with so many silly critics I confess that Tchekhov does seem 
to me a marvellous writer. I do think a story like In Exile or Miss- 
ing is frankly incomparable. (It's years since I read de Maupassant: 
I must read him again) And then Tolstoy well, you know, 
Anna's journey in the train when she finds Vronsky is travelling 
to St. Petersburg too and the whole figure of Anna when I think 
how real, how vital, how vivid she is to me I feel I can't be 
grateful enough to Tolstoy by grateful I mean full of praise 
to him for his works. 

Will you lend me Marcel Proust when you come out this time ? 
I don't feel qualified to speak of him. 

I wonder what you'll think of this little Isola Bella. It's very 
small. The windows have got little cotton velveteen trousers put 
up by me in place of the dreadful little chemises that hung there 
on my arrival. And I have an old servant, a butter and sugar thief 
who is an artist in her way a joy. Her feeling for hot plates 
and for what dear Henry James might call the real right gravy is 
supreme. These things are so important. I don't think I could 
love a person who liked gravylene or browno or whatever they 
call it. 

To ]. M. Murry December 7920 

Yesterday I had your letter re the finances of the A. Really, 

there is nothing to be said. has sat on the poor egg to some 

purpose. . . . The picture of you was lifelike. Your very legs were 
under the table. I would have known them among a million pairs. 
But you have a terrible pen for these small drawings. Dear! dear! 
they are so pathetical. When Mother came back from Switzerland, 
1894, she bought me a tie-pin made like a violet and one shut one's 
eye and looked through it at the Lion of Lucerne ! ! Your tie-pins 
all are made of a diamond that's really a tear-drop. I shut one eye 

= 3SS = 

Letters 1920 

and look through at my own own little Lion and my heart 
faints to see his sweet mane all in knots over his sums. 

It's still freezing cold. Oh, I do feel the cold most cruelly. I can- 
not keep warm. Blankets over my knees, two pairs of everything 
that one has two of, a fire, soup nothing saves me. And as soon 
as the sun so much as shakes his fiery head I feel better. Bogey, 
when I leave here, it will be to go farther south. 

I confess since I've been away this time my need or my wish for 
people has absolutely fled. I don't know what it is to be lonely, and 
I love to be solitary. 

If my book is to be reviewed in the paper, who is to do it ? May 
I have a say ? Of course you can't, and I don't want to, be- 
cause I don't like her work at all at all at all. I'd prefer to have it 
done by someone who'll oh, I don't know Santayana, I pre- 
fer. Now I'm not being serious. I mean of course, that's only my 
wicked preference. But his idea of friendship and mine are alike 
that is beaucoup, isn't it ? 

Did you read in the Times that Shelley left on his table a bit of 
paper with a blot on it and a flung down quill? Mary S. had a 
glass case put over same and carried it all the way to London on 
her knees. Did you ever hear such rubbish ! ! That's her final give 
away for me. Did she keep it on her knees while she ate her sand- 
wiches Did everybody know ? Oh didn't they just. I've done 
with her. 

December. 7920 

II fait beau, aujourd'hui. I am sitting in my long chair on the 
terrace. The wind of the last days has scattered almost the last of 
the fig leaves and now through those candle-shaped boughs I love 
so much there is a beautiful glimpse of the old town. Some fowls 
are making no end of a noise. I've just been for a walk on my 
small boulevard and looking down below at the houses all bright 
in the sun and housewives washing their linen in great tubs of 
glittering water and flinging it over the orange trees to dry. Per- 
haps all human activity is beautiful in the sunlight. Certainly these 
women lifting their arms, turning to the sun to shake out the wet 
clothes were supremely beautiful. I couldn't help feeling and 

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after they have lived they will die and it won't matter. It will be 
all right; they won't regret it. 

A small, slender bird is pecking the blue bayberries. Birds are 
much milder here, much quicker, properly on the qui vive, you 
know. ... Do you mind ? I've done with England. I don't even 
want to see England again. Is that awful ? I feel it is rather. I know 
you will always want to go back. I am collecting possessions at an 
awful rate. All my pennies go on them. . . . But they are all 
movables. They can all be carried up the mountains. Wander with 
me 10 years will you ? Ten years in the sun. It's not long only 

10 springs. If I manage to live for 10 years I don't think I'd mind 

dying at 42. ... But as to starting a theatre for 's to come to 

Lord, Lord not I. 

I suppose I haven't brought it off in Poison. It wanted a light, 
light hand and then with that newspaper a sudden ... let me 
see, lowering of it all just what happens in promiscuous love 
after passion. A glimpse of staleness. And the story is told by the 
man who gives himself away and hides his traces at the same 

I realise it's quite a different kind to Miss Brill or The Young 
Girl. (She's not " little "; in fact, I saw her big, slender, like a colt.) 

Will you tell me if you see my point at all ? or do you still feel 
it's no go ? 

Here is an inside and an outside photograph of me in and out 
of my Isola Bella. Would you like some more ? I have more here 
if you'd like them. And shall I tell you the conversation which just 
went on between Marie and the carpet woman? Oh, no, it's not 
interesting really without the voices. Even old Marie attend Mon- 
sieur now. " J'ai 1'idee, Madame, d'acheter une belle tranche de 
veau alors de faire une poche dedans et de la farcer avec un peu 
de jambon un oeuf " and so on and on and on die song 
becoming more and more triumphant and ending " mats peut-etre 

11 vaudrait mieux que nous attendons Parrivee de Monsieur pour A. 
En effet un bon plat de nouilles est toujours un bon plat," and 
then she puts her head on one side and says, " Monsieur aime le 

Pleased to tell you mice have made a nest in my old letters to 

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L. M. Would that I could always be certain of such behaviour. 
The mice in this house are upstarts. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett December 22, 1920 

I wonder where you will be for Christmas. Having M. with me 
has turned it into a fete. My treasured Marie is determined that 
Christmas shall be kept well and bought The Mistletoe all in readi- 
ness for the arrival of Monsieur. The Kitchen is a progression of 
still lives from a poor dead bird leaning its tired head on a tuft of 
water-cress (oh, how awful it looks!) onwards. And because the 
weather is chill, blue and white weather, log fires roar in the 
chimleys. This little house is a perfect darling. It's not beautiful, 
it's shabby and the bedroom wall paper is baskets of pink flowers 
and in the dining room there is a big corpse of a clock that some- 
times at dreadful intervals and for no reason begins to chime 
never to tick. But there is a feeling over everything as though it 
were a real resting-place. I have taken it until the end of 1922 and 
even so I'm frightened at the idea of saying goodbye to it then. 
I love this country, too, more and more. It is winter now many 
trees are bare, but the oranges, tangerines and lemons are all ripe ; 
they burn in this clear atmosphere the lemons with gentle 
flames, the tangerines with bright flashes, and the oranges sombre. 
My tiny peach tree still clings to a few exquisite leaves curved 
like peaches 'and the violets are just beginning. 

More and more (for how long? no matter. A moment is for 
ever) one lives really lives. . . . 

Are you childish about the New Year? Do you feel it is a 
mystery and that if your friends wish you a happy one happi- 
ness does come beating its beautiful wings out of the darkness 
towards you ? 

To Anne Estelle Rice December 26, 7920 

The parcel arrived on Xmas morning but it was a separate fete 
by itself, just your letter and the two enchanting sketches. I love 
them, Anne. They remind me of our spring together and the 
laburnum seems hung with little laughs. If you knew how often 

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Letters 7927 

I think of that time at Looe, our picnic, the white-eyed kaffir, the 
midget infant hurling large pieces of Cornwall into the sea on the 
beach that afternoon! It's all as clear as to-day. 

But you know, don't you ? that all the times we have ever spent 
together are clear like that. And here I am always sending you 
greetings, always sharing things with you. I salute you in tanger- 
ines and the curved petals of roscs-the and the crocus colour of 
the sea and in the moonlight on the poire sauvage. Many, many 
other things. It will always be so with me, however seldom I see you. 
I shall just go on rejoicing in the fact of you. And loving 
you and feeling in that family where Monsieur Le Beau Soleil est 
notre pere nous sommes des soeurs. 

I am still hard at the story-writing and still feeling that only 
now do I begin to see what I want to do. I am sending you my 
book. It is not a good one. I promise the next will be better but 
I just wanted you to have a copy. Living solitary these last months 
with a servant who is a born artist and says, " Un ou deux bananes 
font plus intrigant le compotier," and who returns from market 
with a basket, which just to see on the kitchen table is food for 
the day, makes work a great deal easier to get at. The strain is re- 
moved. At last one doesn't worry any more. And fancy one's 
domestique having an idea of what work is! She won't even let 
a person talk at the front door if I am working. She whispers to 
them to go to la porte de la cuisine ..." parceque c'est tres 
enervant pour Madame d'entendre causer quelqu'un pendant 
qu'elle travaille! " It's like being in heaven with an ange gardienne. 

To Richard Murry January i, 7927 

I have written a huge long story of a rather new kind. 1 It's the 
outcome of the Prelude method it just unfolds and opens But 
I hope it's an advance on Prelude. In fact, I know it's that because 
the technique is stronger It's a queer tale, though. I hope you'll 
like it. ... 

We had a marvellous drive up into the mountains here the other 
day to a very ancient small village called Castellar. These roads 
wind and wind higher and higher one seems to drive through 

1 The Daughters of the Late Colonel. 

= 359 - 

Letters 1921 

the centuries too, the boy with the oxen who stands on the hillside 
with a green branch in his hand, the old women gathering twigs 
among the olives the blind peasant with a wild violet pinned to 
his cap all these figures seem to belong to any time And then 
the tiny walled village with a great tree in the cobbled square and 
the lovely young girl looking out of the window of flower pots 
in the Inn it's all something one seems to have known for ever. 
I could live here for years and years I mean away from what 
they call " the world." 

January ij, 1921 

If you knew how I love hearing from you and how honoured 
I am by your confidences ! Treat me as a person you have the right 
to ask things of. Look here if you want anything and you 
haven't the dibs come to me bang off and if I have the money 
you're welcome to it without a single hesitation. 

Why I am saying all this is (I see your eyes rolling and your 
hair rising in festoons of amazement and I don't care!) well, why 
I am saying it is that we " artists " are not like ordinary people and 
there are times when to know we have a fellow workman who's 
ready to do all in his power, because he loves you and believes in 
you, is a nice comfortable feeling. I adore Life, but my experience 
of the world is that it's pretty terrible. I hope yours will be a very 
different one, but just in case . . . you'd like to shout Katherine 
at any moment here she is See ? 

Having got that off my chest (which is at this moment more 
like a chest of super-sharp edged cutlery) let me say how I ap- 
preciate all you feel about craft. Yes, I think you're absolutely 
right. I see your approach to painting as very individual. Emotion 
for you seems to grow out of deliberation looking long at a 
thing. Am I getting at anything right? In the way a thing is 
made it may be a tree or a woman or a gazelle or a dish of fruit. 
You get your inspiration. This sounds a bit too simple when it is 
written down and rather like "Professor Leonard The Indian 
Palmist." I mean something, though. It's a very queer thing how 
craft comes into writing. I mean down to details. Par example. In 
Miss Brill I choose not only the length of every sentence, but even 
the sound of every sentence. I choose the rise and fall of every para- 

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Letters 7927 

graph to fit her, and to fit her on that day at that very moment. 
After Fd written it I read it aloud numbers of times just as 
one would play over a musical composition trying to get it 
nearer and nearer to the expression of Miss Brill until it fitted 

Don't think I'm vain about the little sketch. It's only the method 
I wanted to explain. I often wonder whether other writers do the 
same If a thing has really come off it seems to me there mustn't 
be one single word out of place, or one word that could be taken 
out. That's how I AIM at writing. It will take some time to get 
anywhere near there. 

But you know, Richard, I was only thinking last night people 
have hardly begun to write yet. Put poetry out of it for a moment 
and leave out Shakespeare now I mean prose. Take the very 
best of it. Aren't they still cutting up sections rather than tackling 
the whole of a mind ? I had a moment of absolute terror in the 
night. I suddenly thought of a living mind a whole mind 
with absolutely nothing left out. With all that one knows how 
much does one not know ? I used to fancy one knew all but some 
kind of mysterious core (or one could). But now I believe just the 
opposite. The unknown is far, far greater than the known. The 
known is only a mere shadow. This is a fearful thing and terribly 
hard to face. But it must be faced. 

To Lady Ottoline Morrell Wednesday 

February 2, 7927 

M. is still here. He came back suddenly and now he is going 
to England to-morrow only to arrange to leave for good. . . . 
I dont know. I hope he will be happy. When he is away yes 
I do miss his companionship. I miss talking with a man and its 
very lonely here when he's in London for the Mountain and I 
only agree when we are silent or out of each other's sight!! But I 
mean to leave the Riviera as soon as possible. I've turned fright- 
fully against it and the French. Life seems to me ignoble here. It 
all turns on money. Everything is money. When I read Balzac 
I always feel a peculiar odious exasperation because according to 
him the whole of life is founded on money. But he is right. It is 

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Letters 1921 

for the French. I wish the horrid old Riviera would fall into 
the sea. It's just like an exhibition where every single side show 
costs another sixpence. But I paid goodness knows what to 
come in. 

Where can one go, I wonder. Italy ? 

Do tell me if you find a lovely place in Italy. ... As to Eng- 
land I never want to see it again. I read M.'s letters from 

and Co. and they horrify me. Did one know all the wrong people ? 
Is that why nobody remains to me not one except de la 
Mare whom I never knew when I was there. . . . 

However, one goes on believing. Li^e might be marvellous. One 
keeps faith with that belief in one's work. I've been writing of a 
dance this afternoon and remembering how one polished the floor 
was so thrilling that everything was forgotten. . . . 

To Richard Murry February 3, 1921 

I don't suppose you really realise what your two last letters to me 
have been like. Well, I must say I've never had any letters to beat 
them, and when you are in Paradise I hope the Lord will present 
you with two brushes of comets hair in token of appreciation for 
same. Paint brushes, of course, I mean. In the meantime je vous 
serre le main bien fort, as they say, for them. . . . I'll take 'em 
in order. 

The first, I must say, was what the French newspapers call un 
espece de bowl-over! Your interview with Fate (not forgetting 
his Secretary) written on that beautiful leming coloured paper 
was simply a proof of what you could do at this imaginative short 
story writing if you really got going. Richard Murry enters the 
ring and shows Kid Mansfield How to Do it. I leave the drawing 
of the scene to you me in black velvet shorts with a crochet 
lace collar and you in a kind of zebra tights costume. . . . Well, 
dear old boy, you wiped the ring with me. Not only that I do 
really think that things have taken a Turn and that J. and I have 
seen our worst days. Hope so, at any rate. I think your Easter plan 
is a first-rate one. It's down in my diary as a certainty. Do let's 
bring itoflf ! Don't worry about the fare. When the time comes just 
put your toospeg brush, pyjamas and a collar (for Sundays and 
fete days) into a handkerchief and I'll send along the ticket and a 

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Letters 1921 

dotted line for you to follow. Seriously a rucksack is all you'll 
need. My grandpa said a man could travel all over the world with 
a clean pair of socks and a rook rifle. At the age of 70 odd he 
started for England thus equipped but Mother took fright and 
added a handkerchief or two. When he returned he was shorn of 
everything but a large watering can which he'd bought in London 
for his young marrows. I don't suggest him as a Man to be Fol- 
lowed, however. Already, just with the idea of you coming I've 
seen you on the terrace the three of us, talking. I've packed 
picnic basket and we've gone off for the day. Lunch under the 
olive trees . . . and so on ... it will be awful if it doesn't come 
true! We must make it. J. has a scheme to meet you in Paris and 
convey you to and from the Louvre on your way. 

Well, I now come to your Letter II. containing your photograph. 
I love having it. You have, as Koteliansky used to say, an " ex- 
tremely nice face," Richard. Being fond of you as I am I read into 
it all sorts of signs of the future painter ... I believe they are 
all there. 

My honest opinion is that if there is a person going on the right 
lines you are he. I can't tell you how right I feel you are. It 
seems to me like this. There is painting and here is life we can't 
separate them. Both of them have suffered an upheaval extraor- 
dinary in the last few years. There is a kind of tremendous agita- 
tion going on still, but so far anything that has come to the surface 
seems to have been experimental, or a fluke a lucky accident. 
I believe the only way to live as artists under these new conditions 
in art and life is to put everything to the test for ourselves. We've 
got, in the long run, to be our own teachers. There's no getting 
away from that. We've got to win through by ourselves. Well, as 
I see it, the only way to do that honestly, dead truthfully, shirk- 
ing nothing and leaving nothing out, is to put everything to the 
test; not only to face things, but really to find out of what they 
are composed. How can we know where we are, otherwise ? How 
can we prevent ourselves being weak in certain places? To be 
thorough to be honest. I think if artists were really thorough 
and honest they would save the world. It's the lack of those things 
and the reverse of them that are putting a deadly blight on life. 
Good work takes upon itself a Life bad work has death in it. 

Well (forgive me if I'm dull, old boy), your longing for 

= 363 - 

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technical knowledge seems to me profoundly what an artist 
ought to feel to-day. It's a kind of deep sign of the times rather 
the Zeitgeist that's the better word. Your generation, and mine 
too, has been "put off" with imitations of the real thing and 
we're bound to react violently if we're sincere. This takes so long 
to write and it sounds so heavy. Have I conveyed what I mean to 
even. You see I too have a passion for technique. I have a passion 
for making the thing into a whole if you know what I mean. Out 
of technique is born real style, I believe. There are no short cuts. 

But I wish you were not so far away. I wish the garden gate 
flew open for you often and that you came in and out and we 
talked not as in London more easily and more happily. I 
shall pin the sun into the sky for every day of your holiday and at 
night I shall arrange for a constant supply of the best moonlight. 

To Sylvia Lynd January 1921 

Your letter and your book made a sort of Fete de Saint Sylvie 
of yesterday. Your lovely little letter brought you back to me so 
clearly very radiant, in air blue and primrose, sitting for a mo- 
ment in time on my small sofa the one which in private life is 
known as " the stickleback." 

Thank you very much indeed, please, for The Swallow Dive. 
It is full of the most beautiful things. You turn to Beauty like a 
flower to the light. (I must put it in the third person. It's easier to 
say.) She fills and glows with it and is like a shining transparent 
cup of praise. . . . Early morning light, I feel, with the grass still 
pearled and long, slender shadows. ... If you were here I should 
like to say ... " Caroline crying after she had heard of Ethel's 
engagement"; "her moment of leaving her Aunt Mildred's 
house for ever. . . ."; " her top of the 'bus ride "; her pink cotton 
frock drifting through July in London. As to the Fall of Antioch, 
I hear it, smell it, \now it as if I had played in it. But above all, 
Ashleem! Your early morning description of Ashleem, Miss, took 
away my breff. 

Forgive an impudent woman. She's very, very serious really. 
And because we are jellow-worfynen, may I say I think you some- 
times know more than you say, and sometimes you say less than 
you know. . . . Does that convey anything? 

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I find my great difficulty in writing is to learn to submit. Not 
that one ought to be without resistance of course I don't mean 
that. But when I am writing of * another ' I want so to lose my- 
self in the soul of the other that I am not. . . . 

I wish we could have a talk about writing one of these days. 

Was there really a new baby in your letter ? Oh dear, some peo- 
ple have all the babies in this world. And as sometimes happens to 
us women just before your letter came, I found myself tossing a 
little creature up in the air and saying, " Whose boy are you ? " 
But he was far too shadowy, too far away to reply. 

So tell me about your baby, will you ? And when I do get out of 
this old bed I shall drive to the lace shop and buy a cobweb to 
make a cap for himher. Farewell. May the fairies attend you. 
No, dear woman, it is grim work having babies. Accept my love 
and my sympathy. 

To Sydney Schiff February 7927 

Let me add one word to our all too brief conversation this after- 
noon. Alas! what a plague is Time. No sooner has one begun to 
appreciate what the other is seeing than it's as though, at a 
turn of the planet he is whirled away. 

The question of the Artist and his Time is, I am sure, the Ques- 
tion of Questions. The artist who denies his Time, who turns away 
from it even so much as the fraction of a hair is false. First, he must 
be free; that is, he must be controlled by none other than his 
deepest self, his truest self. And then he must accept Life, he must 
submit give himself so utterly to Life that no personal qud per- 
sonal self remains. Does that convey anything? It's so hard to 
state. " Bitterness " is a difficult word for me to disentangle from 
a sense of personal wrong a " this is what Life has done to me." 
But I know you don't mean that. You mean a bigger thing the 
gesture with which one turns aside to-day from what might have 
been what ought to have been. There is humour in it, of a kind, 
and inevitable sadness. . . . 

But let me confess, Sydney. I feel something else as well and 
that is Love. But that's so difficult to explain. It's not pity or rain- 
bows or anything up in the air Perhaps it's feeling, feeling, 

= 36S = 

Letters 1921 

To S. S. Koteliansfy February 79, 7921 

What has happened to the inkstand with the elephants on it 
mother-of-pearl, inlay or was it ivory ? Some of the inlay had 
begun to come off; I fancy one of the elephants had lost an eye. 

And that dim little picture of a snowy landscape hanging on 
the wall in your room. Where is it now ? And where are the kittens 
and the children and Christ, who looked awfully like a kitten, too, 
who used to hang in the dining room ? And that leather furniture 
with the tufts of horse-hair stuffing coming out ? 

Where are all the hats from the hatstand ? And do you remem- 
ber for how long the bell was broken. . . . Then there was the 
statue on the stairs, smiling, the fair caretaker, always washing 
up, the little children always falling through her door. 

And your little room with the tiny mirror and the broken win- 
dow and the piano sounding from outside. 

Those were very nice teacups thin a nice shape and the 
tea was awfully good so hot. 

" At the Vienna Cafe there is good bread." 

And the cigarettes. The packet done up in writing paper you 
take from your pocket. It is folded so neatly at the ends like a 
parcel from the chemists. 

And then Slatkovsky his beard, his " glad eye " his sister, 
who sat in front of the fire and took off her boot. The two girls 
who came to see him the Classic Day his Father died. And the 
view from your window you remember ? The typist sits there 
and her hat and coat hang in the hall. Now an Indian in a turban 
walks up that street opposite to the British Museum quartier. 

It begins to rain. The streets are very crowded. It is dusky. Now 
people are running downstairs. That heavy outer door slams. And 
now the umbrellas go up in the street and it is much darker, sud- 
denly. Dear friend do not think evil of me forgive me. 

To March i, 1921 

Don't blame your parents too much! We all had parents. There 
is only one way of escaping from their influence and that is by 
going into the matter with yourself scanning yourself and mak- 

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Letters 7927 

ing perfectly sure of their share. It can be done. One is NEVER 
free until one has done blaming somebody or praising somebody 
for what is bad and good in one. Don't you feel THAT? By that 
I don't mean we ought to live, each of us on our own island. On 
the contrary Life is relationship it's giving and taking but 
that's not quite the same thing as making others responsible is 
it? There is the danger. Don't think I underestimate the enormous 
power parents can have. I don't. It's staggering, it's titanic. After 
all, they are real giants when we are only table high and they act 
according. But like everything else in life I mean all suffering, 
however great we have to get over it to cease from harking 
back to it to grin and bear it and to hide the wounds. More 
than that, and far more true is we have to find the gift in it. We 
can't afford to waste such an expenditure of feeling; we have to 
learn from it and we do, I most deeply believe, come to be 
thankful for it. By saying we can't afford to ... waste . . . feel- 
ing! I sound odious and cynical. I don't feel it. What I mean is. 
Everything must be accepted. 

I am only on nodding acquaintance with Spring. We talk from 
the window. But she looks from this distance fairer than ever, 
more radiant, more exquisite. It is marvellous to know the earth 
is turned to the light. 

To Lady Ottoline Morrell Monday 

March 14, 7927 

I have been in bed for six weeks with my lungs and heart; then 
" They " have decided that my heart trouble is caused by a very 
swollen gland which presses, with intense pain, on an artery. 
This the surgeon tapped on Saturday and intends to tap 2 or 3 
times again. And so on and so on and so on. L. M. is in England 
pendant cette crise But I'll not go on. 

The weather is really exquisite. To-day was perfection. Radiant, 
crystal clear, one of those days when the earth seems to pause, en- 
chanted with its beauty, when every new leaf whispers: "Am I 
not heavenly fair! " The sun is quite warm. It is tame again. It 
comes and curls up in your arms Beautiful Life! In spite of 
everything one cannot but praise Life. I have been watching the 

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Letters 1921 

peach tree outside my window from the very first moment, and 
now it is all in flower and the leaves are come, small shy clusters 
like linnets' wings. 

Even now I can't explain. Something happened, a kind of earth- 
quake that shook everything and I lost faith and touch with every- 
body. I cannot write what it was. And perhaps I shall never meet 
you again so that I can tell you. This is sad. Blame me if you must. 
How can you do otherwise ? I expect this all sounds fantastic. I 
hate people who hint at secrets in letters. You will hate this. Let 
me say I was almost out of my mind with misery last year 

M. is here for the moment. He goes back to England at the end 
of April. His typewriter ticks away here. I have just been looking 
at the Keats Memorial Volume. It is simply indescribable in its 
vulgarity. But there's a letter by Keats in it so full of power, 
gaiety, " fun " that it mocks the book as he would have mocked it! 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett April 20, 7927 

We are wondering if that strike has really struck. There is no 
way of knowing here. It must be horrible in London. Bernard 
Shaw had a letter in the D.N. which explained it all away. It's a 
pity he's not King. But the very sound of soldiers fills me with 
horror, and as to all these pictures of young giants joining up and 
saying goodbye to Daddy -the falsity of it! The waste of life 
even if not a man is killed is appalling. And all the while the 
trees come out and the year begins to ripen. ... If there were a 
God, he'd be a queer fellow. 

Here it is so cold that it might be November. We are both 
frozen, we shiver all day. I get up from 115.30 and turn the 
clock round so as to get back to bed more quickly. I've been 
spitting blood since last Tuesday too which is horrid. It makes 
one feel that while one sits at the window the house is on fire. 
And the servants have gone mad or bad or both. One has com- 
pletely disappeared, only her feather duster remains. She wasn't 
a little one either. But I expect we shall come across her one 
day. I have a fancy she is in one of the chimneys. All our flags 
are pinned on Switzerland. Meadows, trees, mountings, and 
kind air. I hope we shall get there in time. 

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Letters 7921 

To J. M. Murry Saturday 

Baugy, Switzerland 
May 7, 7921 

I have been walking round and round this letter, treading on 
my toes and waving my tail and wondering where to settle. 
There's too much to say! Also, the least post card or letter penned 
within view of these mountains is like presenting one's true ac- 
count of one's Maker. Perhaps their effect will wear off. But at 
present . . . one keeps murmuring that about cats looking at 
Kings, but one feels a very small cat, sneezing, licking one's paw, 
making a dab or two at one's tail in the eye of Solemn Immensi- 
ties. However, the peasants don't mind, so why should I ? They 
are cutting the long brilliant grass; they are wading waist high 
through the field with silver stars their scythes, winking 
bright in the sun over their shoulders. A cart drawn by a 
cow (I'm sure it is a cow) drags over a little bridge, and the boy 
driver, lying like a drunken bee on his fresh green bed, doesn't 
even try to drive. It's a perfect, windless day. I'm, as you have 
gathered, sitting on the balcony outside my room. The sun is 
wonderfully warm, but the air is just a little too clean not to be 
chill. The cleanliness of Switzerland! It is frightening. The 
chastity of my lily-white bed! The waxy-fine floors! The huge 
bouquet of white lilac, fresh, crisp from the laundry, in my little 
salon! Every daisy in the grass below has a starched frill the 
very bird-droppings are dazzling. 

" But . . . this is all jolly fine, but why don't you tell me 
things? Get down to it! " 

I'm sorry; I'll have another try. You got my telegram? The 
journey was excellent. The lits salons were horrid when they 
unfolded they were covered thickly with buttons so that one felt 
like a very sensitive bun having its currants put in. But it was 
soon morning, and my mountains appeared as of yore with snow, 
like silver light, on their tops, and beautiful clouds above, rolling 
solid white masses. We passed little watery villages clinging to 
the banks of rivers, it was raining, the trees dripped, and 
everybody carried a gleaming umbrella. Even the fishers fished 
under umbrellas, their line looked like the huge feeler of a large 
water beetle. And then the rain stopped, the cows began to 

^ 369 = 

Letters 1921 

fatten, the houses had broad eaves, the women at the bookstalls 
got broader and broader, and it was Switzerland. 

I sat on a neat green velvet chair in Geneva for three hours. 
L. M. brought tea on a tray. Do you see her, coming from afar, 
holding the tray high, her head bent, a kind of reverent beam 
on her face, and the smoke of the teapot rising like the smoke 
of sacrifices ? 

Then we mounted an omnibus train and bummelted round 
the Lake. The carriage was full of Germans; I was imbedded in 
huge ones. When they saw a lilac bush, Vater und die Mamma 
and even little Hanse all cried: " Schon." It was very old-world. 
Also they each and all read aloud the notice in the carriage 
that a cabinet was provided for the convenience of passengers! 
(What other earthly reason would it have been there for?) We 
reached Clarens at 7. The station clock was chiming. It was a 
cuckoo clock. Touching don't you think ? I was very touched. 
But I didn't cry. And then a motor car, like a coffee-mill, flew 
round and round the fields to Baugy. The manager, who is very 
like a goldfish, flashed through the glass doors and our journey 
was over. . . . 

This hotel is admirable. The food is prodigious. At breakfast 
one eats little white rolls with butter and fresh plum jam and 
cream. At lunch one eats but no, I can't describe it. It could not 
be better though. I suppose, in the fullness of time, I shall take 
soup at midday, too. But at present I can only watch and listen. 
. . . My rooms are like a small appartement. They are quite cut 
off and my balcony is as big as another room. The sun rises in 
the morning vers les sept heures, and it sets, or it begins to set (for 
it takes its setting immensely seriously here) at seven in the 
evening. It has no connection whatever with the South of France 
sun. This is le soleil pere and she's a wanton daughter whose 
name is never mentioned here. 

The air is all they say. I am posing here as a lady with a weak 
heart and lungs of Spanish leather-o. And so far, I confess I 
hardly cough except in the morning. One mustn't be too en- 
thusiastic though. Perhaps it is the hypnotic effect of knowing 
one is so high up. But the air is amazing! 

It's all very German. Early German. Fat little birds, tame as 
can be they look as though their heads unscrewed and re- 

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Letters 1921 

vealed marzipan tummies fat little children, peasants, and 
I regret to say ugly women. In fact, everybody seems to me 
awfully ugly. Young men with red noses and stuffy check suits 
and feathers in their hats ogling young females in mackintoshes 
with hats tied with ribbon under the chin! Oh Weh! Oh We hi 
and if they try to be "chic" to be French it's worse still. 
Legs but legs of mutton in silk stockings and powder which 
one feels sure is die Mamma's icing sugar. 

Of course, I quite see the difficulty of being chic in this land- 
scape. I can't quite see ... yet. Perhaps a white woollen dress, 
a Saint Bernard, a woollen Viking helmet with snowy wings. 
And for your . . .? More wool, with your knees bare, and 
boots with fringed tongues. . . . But I don't know I don't 
know. . . . 

I am sure you will like Switzerland. I want to tell you nicer 
things. What shall I tell you ? I should like to dangle some very 
fascinating and compelling young carrots before your eminent 
nose. . . . The furniture of my salon is green velvet inlaid with 
flesh pink satin, and the picture on the wall is Jugendidylle. 
There is also an immense copper jug with lovely hearts of imita- 
tion verdigris. . . . 

May 9, 1921 

It was a great pleasure to hear from you to-day and get your 
post cards of Bandol and Aries. This time I am numbering and 
keeping your letters. . . . You took me back to Graviers es- 
pecially those big pebbles. They are so plain in my memory, 
big, round, smooth. I see them. I am glad you saw the Allegres, 
even tho' it was sad. The post cards are very impressive. So was 
your desire to see a bull-fight. I rolled my eyes. 

After my hymn in praise of the weather it changed on Satur- 
day night, to heavy rolling mists and thick soft rain. The moun- 
tains disappeared very beautifully, one by one. The lake became 
grave and one felt the silence. This, instead of being depressing 
as it is in the South, had a sober charm. I don't know how it is 
with you; but I feel the South is not made pour le grand travail. 
There is too much light. Does that sound heresy? But to work 

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Letters 1921 

one needs a place (or so I find) where one can spiritually dig 
oneself in. ... And I defy anybody to do that on the Riviera. 
Now this morning the mist is rolling up, wave on wave, and 
the pines and firs, exquisitely clear, green and violet-blue, show 
the mountain sides. This grass, too, in the foreground, waving 
high, with one o'clocks like bubbles and flowering fruit trees 
like branches of red and white coral. One looks and one becomes 
absorbed. . . . Do you know what I mean ? This outer man re- 
tires and the other takes the pen. In the South it is one long fete 
for the outer man. But perhaps, after your tour in Provence, you 
won't be inclined to agree (I mean about its not being ideal 
for working). 

I feel, at present, I should like to have a small chalet, high 
up somewhere, and live there for a round year, working as one 
wants to work. The London Mercury came on Saturday with 
my story. 1 Tell me if anybody says they like it, will you ? That's 
not vanity. Reading it again, I felt it might fall dead flat. It's 
so plain and unadorned. Tommy and de la Mare are the people 
I'd Ufa to please. But don't bother to reply to this request, dear- 
est. It's just a queer feeling after one has dropped a pebble 
in. Will there be a ripple or not? . . . 

What do you feel about Broomies now ? This weather, so soft, 
so quiet, makes me realise what early autumn there might be. 
It's weather to go and find apples to stand in the grass and 
hear them drop. It's Spring and Autumn with their arms round 
each other like your two little girls in Caravan. 

The packet arrived safely, thank you. Your remark about Tiz 
reminded me that in a paper here I read a little letter by Gaby 
Deslys 2 saying that Reudel's Bath Saltrates made her feet " feel 
so nice." A little laughing picture and a bright string of bebe 
French. I felt, if I went on reading there'd come a phrase, " Quand 
on est mort, tu sais. . . ." 

To Anne Estelle Rice May ig2i 

If I were in Paris wouldn't I fly to where you were! It's so 
perfect of you even to think I'm there. I feel as though I was. 

1 The Daughters of the Late Colonel. 

2 Gaby Deslys had died shortly before. 

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Letters 1921 

Or at least that for two quite inferior pins I could pack up and 
go. But chcre at the moment I can only walk from the 
kerridge. Can't mount a stair can't do anything, but lie in a 
chaise longue looking at mountains that make one feel one is 
living in the Eye of the Lord. It is all temporary I am full of 
beans and full of fight but unfortunately, darling, I'm full 
of bacilli too. Which is a bother. If you came here I'd simply have 
such a laugh about it that this rotten old chaise longue would 
break its Swiss legs. Instead, I'm waiting for Docteur Figli 
(good name, that!) and I've got a very nice booklet of informa- 
tion to give him about two little guineas that have just died for 
my sake. The number of guinea pigs, Anne, that I've mur- 
dered ! So that, my precious dear, is that. Paris might be might 
very well be, la pleine lune for me. 

I left my dear little Isola Bella last week. The South of France 
is fever to the feverish. That's my experience. Adorable pays. 
I'll go back there one day but sans un thermometre. Switzerland, 
which I've always managed to avoid, is the very devil. I knew it 
would be. I mean, the people are so UGLY; they are simply 
hideous. They have no shape. All the women have pear-shaped 
derricrcs, ugly heads, awful feet. All the men wear ready-made 
check flannelette suits, six sizes too small and felt hats another 
six sizes too small, with a little pre-war feather sticking up be- 
hind. Curse them. And the FOOD. It's got no nerves. You know 
what I mean? It seems to lie down and wait for you; the very 
steaks are meek. There's no contact between you and it. You're 
not attracted. You don't feel that keenness to meet it and know 
more of it and get on very intimate terms. The asparagus is always 
stone dead. As to the puree de pommes de terre, you feel in- 
clined to call it " uncle." Now I had food in the South that made 
me feel should there be a Paradise you and I shall have one 
lunch cooked by my old Marie which will atone for years of 
not meeting. And then, Anne, Switzerland is revoltingly clean. 
My bed it's enough to unmake any man, the sight of it. Dead 
white tucked in so tight that you have to insert yourself like 
a knife into an oyster. I got up the first night and almost whim- 
pering, like Stepan in The Possessed, I put my old wild jackall 
skin over the counterpane. But this cleanliness persists in every- 
thing. Even the bird-droppings on the terrasse are immaculate 

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Letters 1921 

and every inch of lilac is crisp home from the laundry. It's a 
cursed country. And added to this there are these terrific moun- 

However, darling, I believe it is the only place where they do 
give one back one's wings. And I can't go on crawling any 
longer. It's beyond a joke. 

I shan't stay here at this hotel long, so my London address is 
best. The sight of distant Montreux is altogether too powerful. 
As to the people in this hotel, it is like a living cemetery. I never 
saw such deaders. I mean belonging to a bygone period. Collar 
supports (do you remember them?) are the height of fashion here 
and hairnets and silver buckles and button boots. Face powder 
hasn't been invented yet. 

It's a queer world, but in spite of everything, darling, it's a rare, 
rare joy to be alive and I salute you -and it and kiss you 
both together but you I kiss more warmly. 

To /. M. Murry May 7921 

Read this criticism. It takes the bisquito. But why a half-brick 
at me ? They do hate me, those young men. The Sat. Review said 
my story [The Daughters of the Late Colonel} was "a dismal 
transcript of inefficiency." What a bother! I suppose that, living 
alone as I do, I get all out of touch and what seems to me even 
lively is ghostly glee. . . . 

I like these two torn pages written at such a terrific lick 
funny long y's and g's tearing along like fishes in a river when 
you are wading. 

I was not honest about " not facing facts." Yes, I do believe 
one ought to face facts. If you don't, they get behind you and 
may become terrors, nightmares, giants, horrors. As long as one 
faces them one is top-dog. The trouble is not to steel oneself 
to face them calmly, easily to have the habit of facing them. 
I say this because I think nearly all my falsity has come from not 
facing facts as I should have done, and it's only now that I am 
beginning to learn to face them. 


Letters 1921 

May 12, 7927 

The inventory came from Pope's last night. . . . The list of 
our furniture would make any homme de cccur weep. 

i Tin Box Doll's Tea Service. 

1 China Figure of Sailor. 

2 Liqueur decanters, 
i Liqueur glass. 

3 Light Dresden Girandole, 
i Glass Bowl. 

9 Paper Knives. 

Doesn't it sound a heavenly dustbin ? Did you know there was 
a Fluted Compot ? and a Parian Flower Jar ? 

Since my first letter the mountains have been mobled kings. 
They have un-mobled themselves to-day. ... Is it to be post 
cards, post cards all the way ? 

Saturday Evening 
May 7927 

I am rather conscious that my letters have fallen off just these 
last days. Specially so since this evening I have read yours written 
at Oxford on Thursday. You know how it is when just the letter 
you get is the letter you would love to get. That was my experi- 
ence with this one of yours. I dipped into that remote Oxford 
and discovered you there. Heard that click of the cricket ball 
and I saw the trees and the grass. I was with you, standing by you, 
not saying anything, but happy. 

The reason why I haven't written is that I am fighting a kind 
of Swiss chill. 

All day, in the sun, the men have been working in the vine- 
yards. They have been hoeing between the vines, and then an old 
man has been dusting certain rows with powder out of a Giant 
Pepper-pot. The heat has been terrific. The men have worn 
nothing but cotton trousers. Their bodies are tanned almost red 
brown a very beautiful colour. And every now and then they 
stop work, lean on their pick, breathe deeply, look round. I feel 
I have been watching them for years. Now the day is over; the 

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"Letters 1921 

shadows are long on the grass. The new trees hold the light and 
wisps of white cloud move dreamily over the dreaming moun- 
tains. It is all very lovely. . . . 

How hot is it in England? Here it is really as C. would 
say almost tropical. The nights are hot too. One lies with both 
windows open, and my toes as usual, get thirsty. . . . 

Thank you for Tchekhov. Came to-night, I am simply capti- 
vated by Chaucer just now. I have had to throw a bow window 
into my coeur petit to include him with Shakespeare. Oh, dear! 
His Troilus and CressidU And my joy at finding your remarks 
and your pencil-notes. 

I read to-day The Tale of Chaunticleer and Madame Perlicote: 
it's the Pardouner's tale. Perfect in its way. But the personality 
the reality of the man. How his impatience, his pleasure, the very 
tone rings through. It's a deep delight to read. Chaucer and 
Marlowe are my two at present. I don't mean there's any com- 
parison between them. But I read Hero and Leander last night. 
That's incredibly lovely. But how extremely amusing Chap- 
man's finish is ! Taking up that magical poem and putting it into 
a bodice and skirt. It's v. funny. 

May 1921 

Of course, I remember old Grundy. It was Goodyear's laugh 
I heard when I read his name a kind of snorting laugh, ending 
in a chuckle and then a sudden terrific frown and he got very 
red. Do you remember ? And you remember the stick he brought 
from Bombay ? He was very pleased with that stick. Your men- 
tion of G. gave me Goodyear again living, young, a bit careless 
and worried, but enjoying the worry, in the years before the 
war, when a pale moon shone above Piccadilly Circus and we 
three stood at the comer and didn't want to separate or to go 
home. . . .* 

I went out yesterday in a Swiss kerridge to see M. The Swiss 
kerridge was a rare old bumper, and the driver who weighed 
about eighteen stone leaped into the air and then crashed back 
on to the seat. It was raining. A massive hood was down. I could 

1 For Frederick Goodyear see the Journal, p. 58. 

= 376 - 

"Letters 1921 

just put forth a quivering horn from beneath it. Montreux is 
very ugly and quite empty. But in the shops the people are awfully 
nice. They are simple, frank, honest beyond words and kind in 
the German way. The thing about Switzerland is that there is 
absolutely no de luxe. That makes an enormous difference. It's 
simply not understood. And one is not expected to be rich. One 
isn't expected to spend. This is very pleasant indeed. I suppose 
there is a sort of surface scum of what the Daily Mail calls the 
" Jazzing World," but it doesn't touch the place. To put it into 
a gnut shell, there simply is no fever no fret. The children 
are really beautiful. I saw a baby boy yesterday who took my 
breath away. He was a little grub in a blue tunic with a fistful 
of flowers but his eyes! his colour! his health! You want to 
lie in the grass here and have picnics. Monte Carlo is not in 
the same world. It's another planet almost. 

May 1921 

I got back from Sierre at about 7.30 last night. I rather wish 
I hadn't sent you that little note from there. It was no confused. 
Tear it up. . . . While I write a man is playing the zither so 
sweetly and gaily that one's heart dances to hear. It's a very 
warm, still day. 

Will you please look at this picture of the lake at Sierre? Do 
you like it ? It's lovely really it is. If we spend a year here in 
Switzerland I don't think you will regret it. Yesterday gave 
me such a wonderful idea of it all. I feel I have been through 
and through Switzerland. And up there, at Sierre, and in the 
tiny mountain towns on the way to Sierre it is absolutely unspoilt. 
I mean it's so unlike so remote from the Riviera in that 
sense. There are no tourists to be seen. It is a whole complete 
life. The only person I could think of meeting was Lawrence 
before the war. The only thing which is modern (and this makes 
me feel the Lord is on our side) is the postal service: it is excellent 
everywhere in Switzerland, even in the villages. There are two 
posts a day everywhere. As to telegrams, they simply fly and 
your letter posted 8.30 P.M. on May i2th arrived here 9.30 
A.M. May i4th. All these remarks are, again, of the carrot family. 

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Letters 7921 

I heard there are any number of small chalets to be had in Sierre 
and in Montana. We should take one don't you think? and 
have a Swiss bonne. As to cream-cows, they abound. And* the 
whole country-side is full of fruit and of vines. It's famous for 
its small grapes, and for a wine which the peasants make. The 
father brews for his sons, and the sons for their sons. It's drunk 
when it's about 20 years old, and I believe it is superb. 

Queer thing is that all the country near Sierre is like the Middle 
Ages. There are ancient tiny castles and small round wooded 
knolls, and the towns are solid, built round a square. Yesterday 
as we came to one part of the valley it was a road with a solid 
avenue of poplars, a green wall on either side little wooden 
carts came spanking towards us. The man sat on the shafts. The 
woman, in black, with a flat black hat, earrings and a white ker- 
chief, sat in front with the children. Nearly all the women 
carried huge bunches of crimson peonies, flashing bright. A 
stream of these little carts passed, and then we came to a town 
and there was a huge fair going on in the market square. In the 
middle people were dancing, round the sides they were buying 
pigs and lemonade, in the cafes under the white and pink flower- 
ing chestnut trees there were more people, and at the windows 
of the houses there were set pots of white narcissi and girls looked 
out. They had orange and cherry handkerchiefs on their heads. 
It was beyond words gay and delightful. Then further on we 
came to a village where some fete was being arranged. The square 
was hung with garlands and there were cherry-coloured masts 
with flags flying from them and each mast had a motto framed in 
All the men of the village in white shirts and breeches were string- 
ing more flags across and a very old man sat on a heap of logs 
plaiting green branches. He had a huge pipe with brass fittings. 

Oh dear in some parts of the Rhone valley there are deep, 
deep meadows. Little herd boys lie on their backs or their bellies 
and their tiny white goats spring about on the mountain slopes. 
These mountains have little lawns set with trees, little glades 
and miniature woods and torrents on the lower slopes, and all 
kinds of different trees are there in their beauty. Then come the 
pines and the firs, then the undergrowth, then the rock and the 
snow. You meet tiny girls all alone with flocks of blac^ sheep 

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or herds of huge yellow cows. Perhaps they are sitting on the 
bank of a stream with their feet in the water, or peeling a wand. 
And the houses are so few, so remote. I don't know what it is, 
but I think you would feel as I did, deeply pleased at all this. I 
like to imagine (am I right?) that you will muse as you read: 
Yes, I could do with a year there. . . . And you must know 
that from Sierre we can go far and wide in no time. I believe 
the flowers are in their perfection in June and July, and again the 
Alpine flora in September and October. 

I see a small white chalet with a garden near the pine forests. 
I see it all very simple, with big white china stoves and a very 
pleasant woman with a tanned face and sun-bleached hair bring- 
ing in the coffee. I see winter snow and a load of wood arriv- 
ing at our door. I see us going off in a little sleigh with huge 
fur gloves on, and having a picnic in the forest and eating ham 
and fur sandwiches. Then there is a lamp trts important 
there are our books. It's very still. The frost is on the pane. You 
are in your room writing. I in mine. Outside the Stars are shining 
and the pine trees are dark like velvet. 

I was not surprised at . He's so uncertain at present, I mean 

in his own being, that it will come natural to him to pose. I don't 
know how far you realise that you make him what he is with you 

or how different he is with others. Also at present he has no 
real self-respect and that makes him boast. Like all of us he wants 
to feel important and that's a right feeling we ought to feel 
important but while he remains undisciplined and dans le 
vague he cant be important. So he has to boast. I mustn't go on. 
You are calling me a schoolmistress. . . . 

To Anne Estelle Rice Thursday 

May 19, 1921 

I must write to you once again, darling woman, while you are 
in Paris. Anne, if I were not to hear from you again ever I could 
live on your last letter. To have taken the trouble I know what 
writing means to have sent me that whole great piece of Paris 

complete, with yourself and the traffic (I'd love to be some- 
where where taxis ran one over) and marble tops and Louise 
avec son plumeau, and the shops with the flowery saucissons, 

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and that getting le petit dejeuner, and Wyndham Lewis and 
well I walked through your letter once and then I just idled 
through it again and took my time and stopped to look and 
admire and love and smell and hear it all. It was a great gift, 
my dearest Anne it was un cadeau superbe pour moi. How 
I love you for doing just that! Do you feel I do? You must. Now 
I've been to Paris and even to St. Cloud. For your idea of a 
house there started me dreaming of the house next door. Charm- 
ing houses two storied with lilac bushes at the gate. I made a 
hole in my fence big enough for an eye to flash through and 
in the morning I spied through and called to the petit who was 
gardening, " David," and he said, rather off hand, " Quoi ? " 
And I said, " Will you come to tea with me to-day ? " And he 
turned his back on me and shouted up at his own house, " She 
wants me to go to tea." At that your head appeared at a window 
and you said: " Well, do you want to go ? " David replied: " Well, 
what have we got for tea here ? "... It was an awfully sweet 
dream. I wish it would come true. What fun we should have! 
In the evening there would be a lamp on the garden table. I see 
a whole, lovely life and more my life than cafes nowadays. 

All the same, Paris and London have their appeal. It's very 
good to talk at times and I love watching and listening. These 
mountains are crushing table companions. But all the same I lie 
all day looking at them and they are pretty terrific. ... If you 
could get them into the story, you know get them " place." 

I saw the biggest specialist in Switzerland on Saturday, Anne. 
That's what made your letter so wonderfully good just at the 
moment. It seemed to bring Life so near again. After I'd seen 
this man it was just as if the landscape everything changed 
a little moved a little further off. I always expect these doctor 
men to say: " Get better? Of course you will. Will put you right 
in no time. Six months at the very most and you'll be fit as a 
fiddle again." But though this man was extremely nice he would 
not say more than " I still had a chance." That was all. I tried 
to get the word " Gueri " but it was no good. All I could wangle 
out of him was " If your digestion continues good, you still have 
a chance." 

It's an infernal nuisance to love life as I do. I seem to love it 
more as time goes on rather than less. It never becomes a habit 

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to me it's always a marvel. I do hope I'll be able to keep in it 
long enough to do some really good work. I'm sick of people 
dying who promise well. One doesn't want to join that crowd at 
all. So I shall go on lapping up jaunes d'oeufs and de la 
creme. . . . 

It's evening now. I expect the lights are just out in the streets. 
I see the round shadows of the trees, the warm white of the pave- 
ment. I see the people flitting by. And here in the lake the moun- 
tains are bluish cold. Only on the high tops the snow is a faint 
apricot colour. Beautiful Life! " To be alive and that is enough." 
I could almost say that, but not quite. 

To Sydney and Violet Sc/riff Saturday 

May 21, 1921 

Many thanks for your letter. I want to write to you; I shall as 
soon as I've got over this chill. At present I am in the very middle 
of it. 

The place is marvellous; the doctors incredibly, fantastically, 
too hopelessly maddening. They will speak English, too. If I 
could only give you an imitation of the one who has just left me. 
" Dere is nudding for it but lie in de bed eat and tink of 
naice tings "... He wore a little tiny straw hat too, and brown 
cotton gloves. . . . What is one to do dearest? To shoot or 
not to shoot. . . 

To J. M, Murry May 1921 

You ask me how I am. ... I am much the same. This chill 
has been the worst I have ever had since I was ill, and so I feel 
weak and rather shadowy physically. My heart is the trouble. 
But otherwise I feel . . . well . . . it's difficult to say. No, one 
can't believe in God. But I must believe in something more nearly 
than I do. As I was lying here to-day I suddenly remembered 
that: " O ye of little faith! " Not faith in a God. No, that's impos- 
sible. But do I live as though I believe in anything ? Don't I live in 
glimpses only? There is something wrong, there is something 
small in such a life. One must live more fully and one must have 
more power of loving and feeling. One must be true to one's 

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Letter s 1921 

vision of life in every single particular and I am not. The 
only thing to do is to try again from to-night to be stronger and 
better to be whole. 
That's how I am. . . . Goodnight. 

May 1921 

The people whom we read as we read Shakespeare are part 
of our daily lives. I mean it doesn't seem to me QUEER to be 
thinking about Othello at bregchick or to be wondering about the 
Phoenix and the Turtle in my bath. It's all part of a whole. Just 
as that vineyard below me is the vineyard in the Song of Solomon, 
and that beautiful sound as the men hoe between the vines is 
almost part of my body, goes on in me. I shall never be the same 
as I was before I heard it, just as I'll never be the same as I was 
before I read the Death of Cleopatra. One has willingly given 
oneself to all these things one is the result of them all. Are 
you now saying "intellectual detachment"? But I've allowed 
for that. 

Other people I mean people to-day seem to look on in a 
way I don't understand. I don't want to boast. I don't feel at all 
arrogant, but I do feel they have not perhaps lived as fully as we 
have. . . . However. . . . Did you know that Turgenev's brain 
pesait deux mille grammes? Horrible idea! I couldn't help seeing 
it au beurre hoir when I read that. I shall never forget that brain 
at Isola Bella. It was still warm from thinking. Ugh! 

I shall be very, very glad to see you. I have a mass of things 
to talk about. " The great artist is he who exalts difficulty " 
do you believe that ? And that it's only the slave (using slave in 
our mystical sense) who pines for freedom. The free man, the 
artist, seeks to bind himself. No, these notes aren't any good. But 
I have been finding out more and more how true it is that it's 
only the difficult thing that is worth doing; it's the difficult thing 
that one deliberately chooses to do. I don't think Tchekhov was 
as aware of that as he should have been. Some of the stories in 
The Horse-Stealers are rather a shock. 

Tell me (I've changed my pen and my sujet), how is this? 
There is no Saint Galmier here, only Eau de Montreux, which, 
according to the bottle, is saturated with carbonic acid gas. But 

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my physiology book said that carbonic acid gas was a deadly 
poison: we only breathed it out, but never, except at the last 
desperate moment, took it in. And here are Doctors Schnepsli, 
Rittchen and Knechloo saying it's a sovereign cure for gravel. 
It is all so very difficult, as Constantia would say. 

Don't walk on both sides of the street at once. It distracts 
people and makes it difficult for them to continue the conversa- 

Tuesday, 4.30 P.M. 
May 7927 

I never read anything about a child more exquisite than your 
little girl's remark " II pleut " when someone put a sunshade up. 
It's the most profound thing about a very young baby's vision 
of the world I've ever struck. It's what babies in prams thin\. 
It's what you say long before you talf(. She's altogether a ravish- 
ing person no, so much more than that. She is a tiny vision 
there in those gardens for ever. The tenderness is perfect it's 
so true. 

I am writing in the thick of a thunder-storm. They are regular 
items now in the late afternoon. It gets misty, the birds sound 
loud, it smells of irises and then it thunders. I love such summer 
storms. I love hearing the maids run in the passages to shut the 
windows and draw up the blinds, and then you see on the road 
between the vineyards people hurrying to take shelter. Besides, 
I've such a great part of the sky to see that I can watch the be- 
ginning, the middle and the end. 


Know that goldfinch I have tamed ? He comes right into my 
bedroom now and eats breakfast crumbs beside the bed. He is a 
ravishing little bird. If only he were carpet-trained. But I'm 
afraid you can't train birds. He seems just as surprised as I am. 
The sparrows, now that he has come in, grow bold and come as 
far as the parquet, too. But I won't have them. I aspire to having 
taught this goldfinch to present arms with my founting pen 
by the time you come to do you honour. I also dream of its 

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singing an address of welcome holding the address, you know, 
in one claw. 

During the past two nights I have read The Dynasts. Isn't it 
queer how a book eludes one, and then suddenly opens for you ? 
I have looked into this book before now. But the night before 
last when I opened it I suddenly understood what the poet meant, 
and how he meant it should be read ! The point of view which is 
like a light streaming from the imagination and over the imagina- 
tion over one's head as it were the chorus and the aerial 
music. I am talking carelessly, because I am talking to you, and 
I am relying on you to more than understand me. But it did 
seem to me that if the poetic drama is still a possible " form " 
it will be, in the future, like The Dynasts As if for the stage 
and yet not to be played. That will give it its freedom. Now when 
one reads The Dynasts it's always as though it were on the 
stage. . . . But the stage is a different one it is within us. This 
is all trs vague. ... I long to talk about it. 

Here I stopped. The doctor came. It's really funny. I must tell 
you. My chill is slightly better, but I have symptoms of whooping 
cough! // ne manquait que fa. 

To Lady Ottoline Morrell May 7921 

One can't be really happy if one's body refuses to " join in," 
if it persists in going its own way and never letting one forget 
it. But how is one to get cured? As to doctors there aren't 
any. I have just paid little B. 2,000 francs for looking after me 
and I'm 50 times worse than I was at Christmas. They know 
nothing. I had two really deadly experiences here with perfect 
fools and after all this long time they depressed me so much 
that I felt desperate and I motored off to Montana to see the 
specialist there. He's supposed to be the best man in Switzerland 
for lungs. He was better than the others and I am going to be 
under him in future. I don't know for how long. It's very vague. 
He would not say I can get better. All he would say was I still 
have a chance and he has known patients with lungs as far gone 
as mine who have recovered. I really don't mind a straw. It was 
a divine day the day I met him and the strange ancient room 
in an old hotel where we talked was so beautiful that the moment 

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Letters 7921 

was enough. One must live for the moment, that is all I feel now. 
When he explained how the left lung was deeply engaged but the 
right was really the dangerous one I wanted to say: " Yes, but do 
listen to the bees outside. I've never heard such bees. And there's 
some delicious plant growing outside the window. It reminds me 
of Africa " 

But my health is such a frightfully boring subject that I won't 
talk about it. 

Life in this hotel is a queer experience. I have two rooms and a 
balcony so I am thank Heaven quite cut off. They are 
corner rooms, too. But I descend for the meals step into the 
whirlpool and really one sees enough, hears enough at them, 
to last one for ever. I have never imagined such people. I think 
they are chiefly composed of Tours they are one composite per- 
son, being taken round for so much a week. It's hard to refrain 
from writing about them. But my balcony looks over Montreux 
and Clarens. Anything more hideous ! ! I think Switzerland has the 
very ugliest houses, people, food, furniture, in the whole world. 
There's something incredible in the solid ugliness of the people. 
The very newspapers full of advertisements for a " magnificent 
pore " or a batterie de cuisine comprising 75 pieces are typical. 
And the grossness of everything. I can't stand the narcissi even. I 
feel there are too many and the scent is too cheap. Yesterday L. M. 
who is staying at a place called Blonay brought me a bunch of lilies 
of the valley an immense cauliflower it looked like, and smelt 

But I must say the country round Sierre is simply wonderful. 
That's where I'd like to be. It's so unspoilt, too. I mean there are 
no Casinos, no tea shops and as far as I could see from my glimpse 
not a tourist to be seen. I shall go there at the end of June when 
Murry has joined me. I feel so remote, so cut off from everything 
here. ... I can't walk at all. I lie all day in the shade and write 
or read and that's all. Work is the only thing that never fails. 
Even if people don't like my stories I don't mind. Perhaps they will 
one day or the stories will be better. I've been reading Chaucer. 
Have you read his Troilus and Cressid lately ? It is simply perfect. 
I have a passion for Chaucer just now. But England seems to think 
Miss Romer Wilson is so much the greatest writer that ever was 
born. She does sound wonderful, I must say. Is it all true ? 

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June 1921 

I am leaving here to-morrow. If I look down upon Montreux 
another day I shall fly into pieces with rage at the ugliness of it all. 
It's like a painting on a mineral water bottle Bailment des Eaux. 
And then along the road that winds through (I must say lovely) 
vines go these awful, ugly people, and one can't help looking at 
them. Never have I seen such ugliness. Father, with a straw hat 
on the back of his head, coat off, waistcoat unbuttoned and stiff 
shirt showing, marches ahead and Mother follows with her 
enormous highly respectable derriere and after them tag the little 
Swisses Oh! Oh!! Oh!!! 

Matters have reached a crisis too, as these last two days there has 
been the Fete des Narcisses. Hoards of uglies rushing by on bicycles 
with prodigious bunches of these murdered flowers on the 
handle-bars, all ready for the fray. Happily, it rained and became 
a Fete des Ombrelles instead. I think from the expression of the 
company homeward bound the umbrellas had been thrown as 

To me, though, the symbol of Switzerland is that large middle- 
class female behind. It is the most respectable thing in the world. 
It is Matchless. Everyone has one in this hotel; some of the elderly 
ladies have two. 

I think Sierje may be better and there one is, at least, in reach of 
forests and tumbling rivers. The man from Montana who is go- 
ing to keep an Eye on me is near too, but thinking him over (as 
one does), I believe he's no better than the rest of them and he 
overcharged me horribly. I shall pin my faith on forests. Bother 
all doctors! 

I know I ought to love and she is such a " brick," as they say. 

But when that brick comes flying in my direction Oh, I DO want 
to dodge it! 

I read less and less, or fewer and fewer books. Not because I 
don't want to read them, I do but they seem so high up on the 
tree. It's so hard to get at them and there is nobody near to help. 
. . . On my bed at night there is a copy of Shakespeare, a copy of 
Chaucer, an automatic pistol and a black muslin fan. This is my 
whole little world. 

I have just finished a new story which I'm going to send on 
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Letters 1927 

speck to the Mercury. I hope someone will like it. Oh, I have en- 
joyed writing it. 

To Richard Murry Chateau Belle Vue, 

Sierre, Valais 

June 20, 7927 

I answer your letter bang off. But so many thoughts go chasing 
through my head (do you see them ? the last thought, rather slow, 
on a tricycle!) and there are so many things I'd like to talk over 
that it's not as easy as it sounds. . . . You know it's queer I 
feel so confident about you always. I feel that, the way you are 
building your boat, no harm can come to it. It will sail. You're 
building for the high seas, and Once you do take her out nothing 
will stop her. 

About the old masters. What I feel about them (all of them 
writers too, of course) is the more one lives with them the better 
it is for one's work. It's almost a case of living into one's ideal 
world the world that one desires to express. Do you know what 
I mean ? For this reason I find that if I stick to men like Chaucer 
and Shakespeare and Marlowe and even Tolstoy I keep much 
nearer what I want to do than if I confuse things with reading a 
lot of lesser men. I'd like to make the old masters my daily bread 

in the sense in which it's used in the Lord's Prayer, really to 
make them a kind of essential nourishment. All the rest is well 

it comes after. 

I think I understand exactly what you mean by " visionary con- 
sciousness." It fits the writer equally well. It's mysterious and it's 
difficult to get into words. There is this world, and there is the 
world that the artist creates in this world, which is nevertheless his 
world, and subject to his laws his " vision." Does that sound 
highflown ? I don't mean it to be. It's difficult to get over, in a let- 
ter, a smile or a look or a something which makes it possible to 
say these things when one's with a person without that person 
feeling you are a bit of a priglet. . . . 

J. told me you were working at technique. So am I. It's extraor- 
dinarily difficult don't you find ? My particular difficulty is a kind 
of fertility which I suspect very much. It's not solid enough. 
But I go at it every day. It's simply endlessly fascinating. 

= 38? = 

Letters 1921 

We are leaving here at the end of this week and creeping by 
funicular up to Montana. There I hope we shall stay for the next 
two years. We have our eye on a chalet called Les Sapins which is 
in the midst of the forests pine forests there's not even a fence 
or a bar between it and the trees. So you picture the wolves breath- 
ing under the front door, the bears looking through our keyhole 
and bright tigers dashing at the lighted window panes. Montana is 
on a small plateau ringed round by mountains. I'll tell you more 
about it when we get there. J. has been up twice. He says it's the 
best place he's ever seen. 

This place, Sierre, is in a valley. It's only 1,500 feet high very 
sheltered. Fig trees grow big, vines are everywhere; large flowery 
trees shake in the light. Marvellous light Richard and small 
lakes, bright, clear blue, where you can swim. Switzerland makes 
us laugh. It's a comic country: the people are extraordinary, like 
comic pictures and they are dead serious about it all. But there is 
something fine in it, too. They are " simple," unspoilt, honest and 
real democrats. The 3rd-class passenger is just as good as the ist- 
class passenger in Switzerland and the shabbier you are the less 
you are looked at. No one expects you to be rich or to spend money. 
This makes life pleasant very. They are not at all beautiful 
people; the men are very thick, stiff, ugly in the German way, and 
the women are nearly all dead plain. But seen from afar, in the 
fields, against mountains, they are all well in the picture. The 
Spring is a good time here. I arrived just as the field flowers were 
out; now the hay is gathered and the grapes are formed on the 
vines. I can't say, Richard, how I love the country. To watch the 
season through, to lose myself in love of the earth that is life 
to me. I don't feel I could ever live in a city again. First the bare 
tree then the buds and the flowers, then the leaves, then the small 
fruit forming and swelling. If I only watch one tree a year one is 
richer for life. 

To William Gerhardi June 23, 7921 

I cannot tell you how happy I am to know that The Daughters of 
the Late Colonel has given you pleasure. While I was writing that 
story I lived for it but when it was finished, I confess I hoped very 

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Letters 1921 

much that my readers would understand what I was trying to ex- 
press. But very few did. They thought it was " cruel "; they thought 
I was " sneering " at Jug and Constantia; or they thought it was 
" drab." And in the last paragraph I was " poking fun at the poor 
old things." 

It's almost terrifying to be misunderstood. There was a mo- 
ment when I first had " the idea " when I saw the two sisters as 
amusing; but the moment I looked deeper (let me be quite frank) 
I bowed down to the beauty that was hidden in their lives and to 
discover that was all my desire. ... All was meant, of course, to 
lead up to that last paragraph, when my two flowerless ones turned 
with that timid gesture, to the sun. " Perhaps now . . ." And after 
that, it seemed to me, they died as surely as Father was dead. 

To Lady Ottoline Morrett Chalet des Sapins 

July 24, 1921 

Here it is simply exquisite weather. We are so high up (5,000 
feet above the sea) that a cool breeze filters through from Heaven, 
and the forests are always airy. . . I can't imagine anything lovelier 
than this end of Switzerland. Once one loses sight of that hideous 
Lac Leman and Co. everything is different. Sierre, a little warm 
sunripe town in the valley, was so perfect that I felt I would like 
to live there. It has all the flowers of the South and it's gay and 
" queynt " and full of nightingales. But since we have come up 
the mountains it seems lovelier still. We have taken a small 
not very small chalet here for two years. It is quite remote 
in a forest clearing; the windows look over the tree tops across a 
valley to snowy peaks the other side. The air feels wonderful but 
smells more wonderful still. I have never lived in a forest before, one 
steps out of the house and in a moment one is hidden among the 
trees. And there are little glades and groves full of flowers with 
small ice-cold streams twinkling through. It is my joy to sit there on 
a tree trunk; if only one could make some small grasshoppery 
sound of praise to someone thanks to someone. But who ? 

M. and I live like two small time-tables. We work all the morn- 
ing and from tea to supper. After supper we read aloud and smoke ; 
in the afternoon he goes walking and I crawling. The days seem 

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Letters 7921 

to go by faster and faster. One beaming servant who wears peasant 
" bodies " and full skirts striped with velvet looks after everything. 
And though the chalet is so arcadian it has got a bathroom with hot 
water and central heating for the winter and a piano and thick 
carpets and sunblinds. I am too old not to rejoice in these creature 
comforts as well. 

The only person whom we see is my Cousin Elizabeth who 
lives half an hour's scramble away. We exchange Chateaubriand 
and baskets of apricots and have occasional lovely talks which 
are rather like wliat talks in the after-life will be like, I imagine 
. . . ruminative, and reminiscent although dear knows what 
it is really all about. How strange talking is what mists rise and 
fall how one loses the other and then thinks to have found the 
other then down comes another soft final curtain. . . . But it is 
incredible don't you feel how mysterious and isolated we 
each of us are at the last. I suppose one ought to make this dis- 
covery once and for all, but I seem to be always making it again. 

It seems to me that writers don't acknowledge it half enough. 
They pretend to know all there is in the parcel. But how is one 
to do it without seeming vague ? 

Some novels have been flying up our mountain side lately. . . . 
I wish a writer would rise up a new one a really good one. 

I keep on with my short stories. I have been doing a series for 
The Sphere, because it pays better than any other paper I know. 
But now they are done I don't believe they are much good. Too 
simple. It is always the next story which is going to contain every- 
thing, and that next story is always just out of reach. One seems to 
be saving up for it. I have been reading Shakespeare as usual. The 
Winters Tale again. All the beginning is very dull isn't it? 
That Leontes is an intolerable man and I hate gentle Hermione. 
Her strength of mind, too, in hiding just round the corner from 
him for 15 years is terrifying! But Oh the Shepherd scene is too 
perfect. Now I am embedded in Measure for Measure. I had no 
idea it was so good. M. reads aloud in the evenings and we ma{e 
notes. There are moments when our life is rather like a school for 
two! I see us walking out crocodile for two and correcting each 
other's exercises. But no not really. 

Is this a Fearfully dull letter? I'm afraid it is. I'm afraid " Kath- 
erine has become so boring nowadays." 

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Letters 7927 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett July 29, 7927 

I tremendously enjoyed that long letter. I had been out with M. 
down the road a little way and then across a stream and into the 
forest. There are small glades and lawns among the trees filled with 
flowers. I sat under a big fir and he went gathering. It was a daz- 
zling bright day, big silvery clouds pressing hard on the moun- 
tain tops, not even the cotton grass moving. Lying on the moss 
I found minute strawberry plants and violets and baby fir cones, 
all looked faery and M. moved near and far calling out when 
he found anything special. . . . Then he disappeared down into 
a valley and I got up and explored the little fir parlours and sat 
on the stumps and watched ants and wondered where that apricot 
stone had come from. These forests are marvellous: one feels as 
though one were on a desert island somehow. As to the butterflies 
and golden and green dragon-flies and big tawny bumble bees, 
they are a whole population. M. came back with a huge bunch of 
treasures and I walked home and found your letter in the hall. 
So I sat down on the bottom step of the stairs with the flowers in 
a wet hanky beside me and read it. Don't you think the stairs 
are a good place for reading letters ? I do. One is somehow sus- 
pended one is on neutral ground not in one's own world, not 
in a strange one. They are an almost perfect meeting place oh 
Heavens! how stairs do fascinate me when I think of it. Waiting 
for people sitting on strange stairs hearing steps from above, 
watching the light playing by itself hearing far below a door, 
looking down into a kind of dim brightness, watching someone 
come up. But I could go on for ever. 

Must put them in a story though ! People come out of themselves 
on stairs they issue forth, unprotected. And then the window 
on a landing. Why is it so different to all other windows ? I must 
stop this . . . 

I am deeply interested in what you feel about Manet. For years 
he has meant more to me than any other of those French painters. 
He satisfies something deep in me. There is a kind of beautiful 
real maturity in his painting, as though he had come into his 
own, and it is a rich heritage. I saw a reproduction of a very lovely 
Renoir the other day, a young woman profile a three-quarter 
with the arm lazily outstretched, lovely throat, bosom, shoulder 

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such grace. But I think that in his later paintings he is so often 
muzzy. I can't appreciate the queer woolly outline, and I feel 
it was so often as like as not rheumatism rather than revelation. 
But I don't know. I'd like to have a feed of paintings one day go 
from here to Madrid, say, and have a good look. I shall. Once one 
is out of England I always feel every thing and place is near. We 
are only four hours from Milan here. Well, even tho' we don't go 

there it is. One could start on Saturday morning and be there 
for the opera that evening. It's the channel which is such a dividing 
line. It frightens me. It is so terrifically wide, really. And once one 
is across it one is on the island. 

While I remember. Have you read The Three Mulla-Mulgars 
by de la Mare ? If you haven't, do get it and read it to any infants 
you know. It's about three monkeys. 

One seems to read a lot here. It's the kind of house in which you 
go into a room to comb your hair, find Gulliver's Travels on the 
shelf behind the door and are immediately lost to the world. The 
bedroom walls are of wood; there are thick white carpets on some 
of the floors outside the windows wide balconies and thick 
striped cotton blinds shut out the midday glare. A great many 
flowers everywhere generally apricots ripening on the balcony 
ledge and looking rather gruesome like little decapitated chickens. 
If only I can make enough money so as never to leave here for 
good ! One never gets old here. At 65 one is as spry as a two-year-old 

and (I suppose it is the climate) all is so easy. The strain is gone. 
One hasn't that feeling of dragging a great endless rope out of a 
dark sea. Do you hate London ? No, I do see it has its beauty and 
its charm, too. But all the same one feels so like the swollen sheep 
that looks up and is not fed. It is so hard to put it " stuffily " 
to live from one's centre of being in London. 

Tell me what you are doing, if you are so inclined. Don't lose 
any more half stones! For Heaven's sake put the half back again. 
Look at the Sargol advertisements and be wise in time. God only 
loves the Fat; the thin people he stick pins into for ever and ever. 

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August 8, 7927 

Forgive this paper. I am at the top of the house and there is no 
other here. I am on the wide balcony which leads out of my dress- 
ing room. It's early morning. All the tree-tops are burnished gold, 
a light wind rocks in the branches. The mountains across the wide 
valley are still in sunlight: on the remote drowsy peaks there are 
small cloud drifts silvery. What I love to watch, what seems to 
become part of one's vision, though, are the deep sharp shadows in 
the ravines and stretching across the slopes. But one couldn't imag- 
ine a more marvellous view or one more perfect to live by. I watch 
it from early morning until late at night, when bats are out and 
booming moths fly for one's hair. With intervals. . . . 

Please please never think I need money like that. I can always 
get money. I can always go into some wonder place and hold out 
my hat or sell id. worth of boracic ointment for 2/6, net profit 2/5, 

or money has no terrors for me nowadays. And besides I am 

making some and it's only a question of my own activity how 
much I make. At present I am 30 down and two nuns have 
just come with needlework made by infants in their convent. The 
dear creatures (I have a romantic love of nuns) my two gentle 
columbines, blue-hooded, mild, folded over took little garments 
out of a heavy box and breathed on them and I spent 2 j/- on 
minute flannel jackets and pinnies for Ernestine's sister's first not- 
yet-born baby. 

The butcher's bill on red slaughtered butcher's paper is quite un- 
paid, and now I can't pay it. But you see that's what I am like about 
money, never to be pitied or helped ! 

What is your picture, the one you thought of in your bath ? Yes, 
I find hot baths very inspiring, so does my Cousin Elizabeth. She 
reads Shakespeare in hers. Her love of flowers is really her great 
charm. Not that she says very much, but every word tells. A man 
couldn't discover it in her he wouldn't realise how deep it is. 
For no man loves flowers as women can. Elizabeth looks coolly at 
the exquisite petunias and says, in a small far away voice, " They 
have a very perfect scent." But I feel I can hear oceans of love 
breaking in her heart for petunias and nasturtiums and snap- 
I must stop this letter and get on with my new story. It's called 

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At the Bay and it's (I hope) full of sand and seaweed, bathing 
dresses hanging over verandas, and sandshoes on window sills, and 
little pink " sea " convolvulus, and rather gritty sandwiches and 
the tide coming in. And it smells (oh I do hope it smells) a little 
bit fishy. 

To Richard Murry August 9, 1921 

We have just been doing the flowers before we start work. 
Scene: the salle a manger with windows wide open and pink 
curtains flapping. The table bare and heaped with petunias, snap- 
dragons and nasturtiums. Glass vases and bowls full of water 
a general sense of buds and wetness and that peculiar stickiness of 
fresh stalks. J. white shirt with sleeves up to his shoulders, white 
duck trousers and rope shoes, snipping with a large pair of wet 
scissors me blue cotton kimono and pink slippers, a-filling of 
the vases. ... J. is terribly keen on petunias. I wish I could send 
you a whole great bastick full. They are wonderful flowers al- 
most pure light and yet an exquisite starry shape. We have every 
colour from pale pink to almost blackish purple. And do you know 
the smell of snapdragons ? My dear boy, I must here pause or you 
will walk away. But tell me why do people paint forever bot- 
tles and onions? A white snapdragon, for instance, just for a 
change would be worth it, surely Richard. I wish I could un- 
obtrusively give you these things leave flowers instead of 
foundlings on your studio doorstep, in fact. Perhaps one day I 
shall be able to. ... 

I have been looking at a good deal of modern " work " lately, 
and it almost seems to me that the blight upon it is a kind of fear. 
Writers, at any rate, are self-conscious to such a pitch nowadays 
that their feeling for life seems to be absolutely stopped arrested. 
It is sad. They know they oughtn't to say " driving fast, eh ? " and 
yet they don't know what they ought to say. If I am dead sincere 
I'd say I think it is because people have so little love in their hearts 
for each other. " Love casteth out Fear," is one of those truths that 
one goes on proving and proving. And if you are without fear you 
are free; it's fear makes us slaves But this sounds so prosy. You 
know it as well as I do. I hate to bore you. 

J. had a birthday on Saturday. His presents were (i) a panama 

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hat; (2) some coloured blotting paper; (3) a cake; (4) a ruler. 
We had a tea with candles complete and liqueur chocolates that 
were positively terrifying. The moment of agonizing suspense 
when you had the chocolate in your mouth and had to bite through 
to the mysterious liqueur. However, we survived. 

The weather is superb, here. There has been a Battle of the 
Wasps. Three hosts with their citadels have been routed from my 
balcony blind. In the swamps, still white with cotton grass, there 
are hundreds of grasshoppers. }. saw an accident to one the other 
day. He jumped by mistake into a stream and was borne away. 
Body not recovered. When we thought about it it was the first 
real accident to an insect that we remembered. Richard, I must 
start work. 

I still have so much to tell you. I've only unpacked the little small 
things on top. All the big heavy ones are underneath. 

L. M., who lives about 2 miles from here, is going to England this 
month and is going to bring back Wingley. Athy is married to an 
elderly lady in Hampstead, I believe, a widow. She lost her first 
husband a lovely tabby some time ago. 

August 7927 

It's Sunday my day for writing letters. But I don't write them. 
You are one of the very very few people whom I want to write to. I 
think of you and I straightway long to " clasp hands across a vast " 
. . . and more. I want to talk and to listen (that first) and to 
have a good long look at you. When I'm fond of people their ap- 
pearance is very valuable to me too. Do you feel like that ? But re 
people. It's queer how unimportant they seem to become as one 
goes on. One feels as tho' one has seen them enough got what 
one wants from them and so to work. I don't mean that in a cold- 
blooded way. Perhaps the truth is one has less and less time away 
from work. It gets more engrossing every day here, and we live 
like a pair of small time-tables. The hours away from it we read 
Shakespeare aloud, discuss what has been written. J. goes flower 
finding then the specimens have to be sorted, pressed, examined. 
While he's out I play the piano or go for a small snail crawl my- 
self. And before one can say knife it's time to go to bed. We get 

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up at 7.30 both of us and breakfast on a balcony all windows 
with a ring of snow mountains to look at across the valley. 

Come here, one day. It's a very good place. I am determined 
to make enough money to build a small shack here and make it my 
winter perch for as long as I need perches. The point about this 
place is it is not spoilt. There never can be a railway here. There is 
nothing to do except look at the mountains, climb them and ex- 
plore the forests and paddle in the streams. Motor cars can't do 
these things so the rich and great will never come. The very flowers 
seem to me to know this there is a brightness upon them and 
they are careless even the wild strawberry doesn't bother to hide 
And there's a delicate creature (the Bell Flower, J.'s favourite) 
that grows everywhere as fine as a harebell and a very clear 
almost glassy blue. It would not dare to grow in more civilised 
places. Oh, Richard I do love the earth! When I go off by my- 
self here one slips through the tree trunks and one is out of sight 
at once hidden from every eye. That's my joy. I sit on a stump or 
on the fir needles and my only trouble is that I can't make some 
small grasshoppery sound now and then one wants to praise 
someone or give thanks to someone. 

Down below our windows in that rocky clearing before the trees 
begin there is a flock of goats feeding as I write. The sound of their 
bells is very pleasant. I look at them and wish I could put one in an 
envelope (a goat, I mean) for you to draw. Small, fine, flatfish 
head, delicate legs, lean springing haunches. I'd like also to post 
you our maid-servant Ernestine to paint. She looks like a sun- 
flower. She's in the kitchen now, shelling peas, and she wears a 
Sunday bodice, yellow with black velvet stripes and rather big 
sleeves. (She always dresses in the peasant costume.) As I write it 
seems to me I've told you all this before. Have I ? Forgive me if I 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett August 29, 1927 

I would have written before but the Furies have had me until 
to-day. Something quite new for a change high fever, deadly 
sickness and weakness. I haven't been able to lift my head from 
the pillow. I think it has been a break-down from too much work. 
I have felt exhausted with all those stories lately and yet couldn't 

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Letters 1 92 1 

stop. Well, there has been a stop now and I am just putting forth 
my horns again and thinking of climbing up the hill. . . . How 
I do abominate any kind of illness! . . . Oh God, what it is to 
live in such a body! Well, it doesn't bear thinking about. . . . 

As soon as I can get well enough to go downstairs I shall engage 
our one original cab and go for a drive behind the old carthorse 
with his jingle-bells. The driver as a great honour throws 
the footmat over the back when one goes for a party of pleasure. 
He seems to think that is very chic! But this is such a beautiful 
country Oh ! it is so marvellous. Never looks the same the air 
like old, still wine sound of bells and birds and grasshoppers 
playing their fiddles and the wind shaking the trees. It rains and 
the drops on the fir trees afterwards are so flashing bright and 
glowing that one feels all is enchanted. It is cloudy we live in 
fine white clouds for days and then suddenly at night all is crystal 
clear and the moon has gold wings. They have just taken the new 
honey from the hives, I wish I could send you a jar. All the summer 
is shut up in a little pot. 

But summer is on the wane the wane. Now M. brings back 
autumn crocuses, and his handkerchief is full of mushrooms. I love 
the satiny colour of mushrooms, and their smell and the soft stalks. 
The Autumn crocuses push above short, mossy grass. Big red 
pears monsters jostle in Ernestine's apron. Yes, $a commence, 
ma chere. And I feel as I always do that Autumn is loveliest of all. 
There is such a sharpness with the sweetness there is the sound 
of cold water running fast in the streams in the forest. M. says the 
squirrels are tamer already. But Heavens, Brett Life is so mar- 
vellous it is so rich such a store of marvels that one can't say 
which one prefers. ... I feel with you most deeply and truly 
that it's not good to be " permanent." It's the old cry: " Better be 
impermanent movables! " Now here, for instance we are only 
4 hours from Italy one can run into Italy for tea. M. went down 
to see Elizabeth last week and she had so done. She had waked with 
a feeling for Italy that morning and behold she was flown. And 
that night she sat in the opera house in Milan. . . . That is right 
I am sure. That's why I hate England. I can't help it, Miss, 
Downs or no Downs. There is that channel which lies like a great 
cold sword between you and your dear love, Adventure. And by 
Adventure I mean yes The wonderful feeling that one can 

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lean out of heaven knows what window to-night >one can 
wander under heaven knows what flowery trees. Strange songs 
sound at the windows. The wine bottle is a new shape a perfectly 
new moon shines outside. . . . No, don't settle. Don't have a con- 
venient little gentlewoman's residence. Hot baths in one's own 
bathroom are fearfully nice but they are too dear. I prefer to 
bathe in a flower-pot as I go my way. . . . 

Renoir at the last bores me. His feeling for flesh is a kind 
of super-intense feeling about a lovely little cut of lamb. I am al- 
ways fascinated by lovely bosoms but not without the heads and 
hands as well, and I want in fact the feeling that all this beauty 
is in the deepest sense attached to life. Real life! In fact I must con- 
fess it is the spirit which fascinates me in flesh. That does for me as 
far as modern painters are concerned, I suppose. But I feel bored 
to my last groan by all these pattern-mongers. Oh, how weary it is ! 
I would die of it if I thought. And the writers are just the same. 
But they are worse than the painters because they are so many of 
them dirty-minded as well. 

What makes Lawrence a real writer is his passion. Without 
passion one writes in the air or on the sand of the seashore. But L. 
has got it all wrong, I believe. He is right, I imagine or how shall 
I put it ... ? It's my belief that nothing will save the world but 
love. But his tortured, satanic demon love I think is all wrong. 
The whole subject is so mysterious, tho'; one could write about it 
forever. But let me try to say something. . . . 

It seems to me there is a great change come over the world since 
people like us believed in God, God is now gone for all of us. 
Yet me must believe and not only that we must carry our weakness 
and our sin and our devilish-ness to somebody. I don't mean in a 
bad, abasing way. But we must feel that we are \nown, that our 
hearts are known as God knew us. Therefore love to-day between 
" lovers " has to be not only human, but divine to-day. They love 
each other for everything and through everything and their love 
is their religion. It can't become anything less even affection 
I mean it can't become less supreme, because it is an act of faith 
to believe! But oh, it is no good. . . . 

I can't write it all out. I should go into pages and pages. 

My stories for The Sphere are all done thank the Lord! I 
have had copies with ILLUSTRATIONS! Oh, Brett! such fearful hor- 

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Letters 1921 

rors. All my dear people looking like well Harrod's 29/6 
crepe de chine blouses and young tailors' gents, and my old men 

stuffy old woolly sheep. It's a sad trial. I am at present embed- 
ded in a terrific story, but it still frightens me. 

To Richard Murry September 5, 7927 

I have been too long in answering your last letter. Forgive me. 
They varnished the outside of this chalet and the " niff " gave me 
white lead poisoning and I felt an awful worm with it. The whole 
world seemed varnish. Everything I ate had varnish sauce. Even J. 
was overcome for a day. But it's over now, and we appear to be 
living in a house beautifully basted with the best brown gravy 
and the factory is in full bias' again. I must say we do manage to get 
through a great deal of work here, and there are always side issues 

such as jam-making, sewing on our buttings, cutting each 
other's hair, which fill up the margin of the days. We try to make 
it a rule not to talk in bed. It's queer how full life is once one 
gets free of wasted time. . . . 

My ambition is to make enough money to build a small house 
here, near where we are on a grassy slope with a wood behind 
and mountains before. It will take about five years to do it get 
the money together. But it would be a very great satisfaction to 
design a really good place to work in down to the last cupboard. 
But who am I to talk so lofty ? When if the time comes and 
you're not too famous I'll beg you to lay aside your laurels and 
do it for us. I'll only look over your shoulder and breathe very hard 
when you make those lovely little lines that mean stairs. 

Since I last wrote summer has gone. It's autumn. Little small 
girls knock at the door with pears to sell and blue-black plums. 
The hives have been emptied; there's new honey and the stars look 
almost frosty. Speaking of stars reminds me we were sitting on 
the balcony last night. It was dark. These huge fir trees " take " 
the darkness marvellously. We had just counted four stars and re- 
marked a light; high up what was it? on the mountain op- 
posite, when suddenly from far away a little bell began ringing. 
Someone played a tune on it something gay, merry, ancient, 
over and over. I suppose it was some priest or lay brother in a 
mountain village. But what we felt was it's good to think such 

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Letters 1921 

things still happen to think some peasant goes of? in the late 
evening and delights to play that carillon. I sometimes have a 
fear that simple-hearted people are no more. I was ashamed of that 
fear last night. The little bell seemed to say, but joyfully: " Be not 
afraid. All is not lost." 

All being well as they say, Wingley should arrive this week. He'll 
be terrified after the journey. We shall have to get him snow boots 
for the winter and an airman's helmet made of mouse's skin. 

/. : Ask the old boy if he has seen Charlie Chaplin in " The 
Kid." And tell him to let us know what he thinks of it. 

K. : I will. 

K.toR.: ? 


To the Hon. Dorothy Brett September 7927 

The Cezanne book, Miss, you won't get back until you send a 
policeman or an urgent request for it. It is fascinating, and you can't 
think how we enjoy such a book on our mountain tops. It's awfully 
sympathetic to me. I am absolutely uneducated about painting. I 
can only look at it as a writer, but it seems to me the real thing. 
It's what one is aiming at. One of his men gave me quite a shock. 
He's the spit of a man I've just written about, one Jonathan Trout. 1 
To the life. I .wish I could cut him out and put him in my book. 

I've just finished my new book. Finished last night at 10.30. Laid 
down the pen after writing " Thanks be to God." I wish there was 
a God. I am longing to (i) praise him, (2) thank him. The title 
is At the Bay. That's the name of the very long story in it a con- 
tinuation of Prelude. It's about 60 pages. I've been at it all last 
night. My precious children have sat in here, playing cards. I've 
wandered about all sorts of places in and out I hope it is good. 
It is as good as I can do, and all my heart and soul is in it . . . every 
single bit. Oh God, I hope it gives pleasure to someone. ... It is 
so strange to bring the dead to life again. There's my Grandmother, 
back in her chair with her pink knitting, there stalks my uncle 
over the grass; I feel as I write, " You are not dead, my darlings. 
All is remembered. I bow down to you. I efface myself so that you 
may live again through me in your richness and beauty." And one 

1 Sec " At the Bay." 
40O = 

Letters 7927 

feels possessed. And then the place where it all happens. I have 
tried to make it as familiar to " you " as it is to me. You know the 
marigolds? You know those pools in the rocks, you know the 
mouse trap on the wash-house window-sill ? And too, one tries to 
go deep to speak to the secret self we all have to acknowledge 
that. I mustn't say any more about it. 

No, we certainly shan't be back in England for years. Sometimes, 
in bed at night, we plan one holiday a year, but everywhere else 
feels nearer than England. If we can get the money we shall build 
here in two or three years' time. We have already chosen the way 
to look the way the house shall face. And it is christened Chalet 
Content. We are both most fearful dreamers, especially when it's 
late and we lie staring at the ceiling. It begins with me. M. de- 
clares he won't talk. It's too late. Then I hear: " Certainly not more 
than two floors and a large open fire-place." A long pause. K.: 
" What about bees? " M. : " Most certainly bees, and I aspire to 
a goat." And it ends with us getting fearfully hungry and M. go- 
ing off for two small whacks of cake while I heat two small milks 
on the spirit stove. 

You know Wingley ? The Mountain brought him over. He ar- 
rived with immense eyes after having flown through all that 
landscape and it was several hours before the famous purr came 
in to action. Now he's completely settled down and reads Shake- 
speare with us in the evenings. I wonder what cat-Shakespeare is 
like. We expect him to write his reminiscences shortly. They are 
to be bound in mouse skin. . . . 

Goodbye. I am taking a holiday to-day after my labours last 
week. I wrote for nine solid hours yesterday. 

Who do you think turned up at the end of this letter ? Mrs. H. G. 
Wells and two young H. G. Wells. Very nice boys. We are full 
of gaiety. 

To Richard Murry September 22, 7927 

Just a note to say that Wingley, our gooseberry-eyed one has ar- 
rived. Thin terribly with the bones sticking out of his rump 
like a cow's bones do. A mingy little ruff and fur that has turned 
brown like an actor's black overcoat. You can imagine his loo^ 
after the journey, flashing across the world on the end of a string. 

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Letters 7927 

But when J. lay on the floor and rubbed noses with him he turned 
over and showed off his white weskit in just his old way. He is now 
quite settled down, reads Shakespeare with us every night and 
marks the place in his copy with a dead fly. It's awfully nice to 
have him. He's like a little anchor, here. We hope later on he may 
be persuaded to write his reminiscences. . . . 


We thought your criticism of " The Kid " was extremely inter- 
esting. At last we got an idea what it really was like. It's a pity 
Charles lets these other things creep in a great pity. I should 
very much like to see him with the infant. I feel that would be fine. 
But most of the rest dear me, no! As to the tabloid of the lady 
with the cross such things make one hang one's head. 

We have been squirrel-gazing this afternoon through field- 
glasses. They are exquisite little creatures so intent, preoccupied, 
as it were, and so careless. They flop softly from branch to branch, 
hang upside down, just for the sake of hanging. Some here are as 
small as rats, with reddish coats and silver bellies. The point about 
looking at birds and so on through glasses is one sees them in 
their own world, off their guard. One spies, in fact. 

I'd like to send you some moss. Do you like moss ? There are 
many kinds here, and just now it is in its beauty. It's nice to sit 
down and riiffle it with one's hand. Flowers are gone. A few re- 
main, but they are flat on the grass without their stalks dande- 
lions and purple ones. The mountain ash is terrific against the 
blue. There aren't many leaves here to turn, but the wild straw- 
berry makes up for them. Minute leaves of every colour are scat- 
tered on the ground. 

In fact, if possible, this early autumn is all the bes' even better 
than summer or spring. I mustn't send you a catalogue, though. 
I must refrain. 

To Sylvia Lynd September 24, 1921 

I have been waiting to talk to you to have you to myself, no 
less until I could chase my new book out of the house. I thought 
it never would go. Its last moments lingered on and on. It got up, 

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Letters 1927 

turned again, took off its gloves, again sat down, reached the door, 
came back, until finally M. marked it down, lassooed it with a 
stout string and hurled it at Pinker. Since when there's been an 
ominous silence. True, I haven't had time to hear yet, but one has 
a shameful feeling that it ought to have been " recognised " even 
at the bottom of the first mountain and a feeble cheer a cheer 
left over from Charlie C. might have been raised. . . . No, 
that sounds proud. It's not really pride but FEAR! 

But it's gone. May I give you a small hug for your marvellous 
letter ? It really is a heavenly gift to be able to put yourself, jasmine, 
summer grass, a kingfisher, a poet, the pony, an excursion and the 
new sponge-bag and bedroom slippers all into an envelope. How 
does one return thanks for a piece of somebody's life ? When I am 
depressed by the superiority of men, I comfort myself with the 
thought that they can't write letters like that. You make me feel, 
too, that whatever star they were born under it wasn't the dancing 
one. Keep well ! Never be ill again ! . . . 

I lapped up the gossip. . . . What is happening to " married 
pairs " ? They are almost extinct. I confess, for my part, I believe 
in marriage. It seems to me the only possible relation that really is 
satisfying. And how else is one to have peace of mind to enjoy life 
and to do one's work? To know one other seems to me a far 
greater adventure than to be on kissing acquaintance with dear 
knows how many. It certainly takes a lifetime and it's far more 
" wonderful " as time goes on. Does this sound hopelessly old- 
fashioned? I suppose it does. But there it is to make jam with 
M., to look for the flowers that NEVER are in the Alpine Flora 
book, to talk, to grow things, even to watch M. darning his socks 
over a lemon, seems to me to take up all the time one isn't working. 
People nowadays seem to live in such confusion. I have a horror 
of dark muddles. Not that life is easy, really, or that one can be 
" a child " all the time, but time to live is needed. These complica- 
tions take years to settle, years to get over. I wish you'd write a 
novel about married happiness. It is time for one. ... It is time 
for a good novel on any subject, though. Perhaps we don't see 
them here. . . . 

One thing one does miss here, and that is seeing people. One 
doesn't ask for many, but there come moments when I long to see 
and hear and listen that most of all. 

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Letters 1921 

Otherwise this September has been perfect. Every day is finer. 
There's a kind of greengage light on the trees. The flowers are 
gone. All except flat starry yellow and silver ones that lie tight to 
the turf. M. is a fierce mushroom hunter. He spares none. Little 
mus 1 room " tots " swim in the soup and make me feel a criminal. 
The iflountain ash is brilliant flashing bright against the blue. 
And the quince jam is boiling something beautiful, M'm, as I 
write. I love Autumn. I feel it's better than summer, even. Oh, the 
moss here! I've never seen such moss, and the colour of the little 
wild strawberry leaves that are threaded through. They are almost 
the only leaf that turns here, so turn they do with a vengeance. 

I hardly dare mention birds. It's rather hard Harold M. should 
have such a very large bird in his bonnet; it makes all the rest of 
us go without. There are some salmon pink ones here just now 
passing through, which but for Harold M. I should enjoy. . . . 

To Violet Schiff October 7927 

I am sure Switzerland is the place for health and for work 
I mean especially and above all for nerves. There is an extraor- 
dinary feeling of ease here. It seems it is easy to live; one feels 
remote and undisturbed. I've never known anything like the feel- 
ing of peace and when one isn't working the freshness in the air, 
the smell of pines, the taste of snow in one's teeth that's exag- 
geration it's only the spiritual flavour. I think I really judge 
a place by how vividly I can recall the past. One lives in the Past 
or I do. And here it is living. 

My book is to lie in Constable's bosom until after the New Year. 
It's called, after all, The Garden Party. I hope you like the title. 
The Mercury is publishing one of the stories in a month or two. 
Terribly long. Too long for the Mercury. But that's enough and too 
much about me 

And now I have forgotten my health. Thank you, dearest Violet. 
I think my lungs are quiescent rather the disease is. My heart 
is the same at present. But I feel much better a different person 
altogether on the whole. No longer an invalid, even tho' I still 
can't walk and still cough and so on. ... 

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To the Hon. Dorothy Brett October /, 7927 

I am sitting writing to you in the balcony among teacups, grapes, 
a brown loaf shaped like a bean, a plaited cake with almond paste 
inside and nuts out. M. has forsaken it to join our Cousin Eliza- 
beth. She appeared to-day behind a bouquet never smaller 
woman carried bigger bouquets. She looks like a garden walking, 
of asters, late sweet peas, stocks, and always petunias. 

She herself wore a frock like a spider web, a hat like a berry 
and gloves that reminded me of thistles in seed. Oh, how I love 
the appearance of people how I delight in it, if I love them. 
I have gathered Elizabeth's frocks to my bosom as if they were 
part of her flowers. And then when she smiles a ravishing wrinkle 
appears on her nose and never have I seen more exquisite hands. 
Oh, dear, I hope we shall manage to keep her in our life. It's ter- 
rible how one's friends disappear and how quickly one runs after 
to lock the door and close the shutters. . . . The point about her 
is that one loves her and is proud of her. Oh, that's so important! 
To be proud of the person one loves. It is essential. It's deep 
deep. There's no wound more bitter to love than not be able to 
be proud of the other. It's the unpardonable offence, I think. 

But no doubt Elizabeth is far more important to me than I am 
to her. She's surrounded, lapped in lovely friends. Read her last 
book, if you can get hold of it. It's called Vera and published by 
Macmillan. It's amazingly good! 

Except for her we are lost in the forest. And next month the 
weather will change. Six weeks or two months in the clouds, with 
nothing to see but more cloud, before it clears and the snow falls. 
Other people who flee from the mountains in the between seasons 
seem to think it will be a very awful time. But there is so much 
to do. And I love to be in a place all the year round, to know it in 
all its changes. 

I am very interested in your doll still life. I've always wondered 
why nobody really saw the beauty of dolls. The dollishness of 
them. People make them look like cricket-bats with eyes as a rule. 
But there is a kind of smugness and rakishness combined in dolls 
and heaven knows how much else that's exquisite, and the only 
word I can think of is precious. What a life one leads with them! 
How complete! Their hats how perfect and their shoes, or 

40S - 

Letter $ 7921 

even minute boots. And the pose of a doll's hand 'very dimpled 
with spreading fingers. Female dolls in their nakedness are the 
most female things on earth. . . . 

I keep on being interrupted by the sound in the trees. It's get- 
ting late the tree-tops look as if they had been dipped into the 
gold-pot and there's a kind of soft happy sighing or swinging or 
ruffling all three going on. A bird, bright salmon pink with 
mouse-grey wings hangs upside down pecking a fir cone. The 
shadows are growing long on the mountains. But it's impossible to 
describe this place. It has so brought back my love of nature that 
I shall spend all the rest of my life . . . trekking. A winter in 
Spitzbergen is an ambition of ours after some photographs in The 
Sphere. It looks marvellous. The only question is will our cat be 
able to stand it! The nearest other cat is in China. . . . 

I've started and torn up two bad stories and now I am in the mid- 
dle of the third. It's about a hypocrite. My flesh creeps as I write 
about him and my eyes pop at his iniquities. . . . 

Don't get caught in the cold blasts. Wrap yourself up. Make 
the charlady feed you on bakin. In my infancy I used to cry my- 
self to bed with the tragic lines: 

I bought a pound of ba kin 
An fried it in a pan 
But nobody came to e eat it 
But me e and my young man ! 

October 5, 1921 

I've got another old chill. I'm lying on the balcony in J. M. M.'s 
jaeger cardigan with a jaeger blanket up to my chest and fever. 
The best part of a chill is fever. Then the world has just that some- 
thing added which makes it almost unbearably beautiful. It is 
worth it. 

I am so glad you are hearing some music. I don't think music 
ever makes me feel as Mozart does you, for instance. It's like being 
gloriously dead if you know what I mean. One is not any more 
one Js wafted away, and yet there's a feeling of rejoicing and a 
kind of regret ah, such regret mixed together that, I feel, 
disembodied spirits must know. But to tell the absolute truth, 

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Letters 1921 

though Beethoven does that for me, so does Caruso on a really 
good gramophone. . . . 

M. and I, before this chill seized me, have been taking some 
more driving exercise. Even the horse was amazed last time and 
stopped every three minutes and turned round and ogled us. I am 
going to wear riding breeches next time and M. pink coat and 
stock made of a dinner napkin. We leapt up into the air, bounded 
from side to side, shook, fell forward, were tossed back. The road 
was an ancient water-course with upside-down mountains in it. 
But the view ! The beauty of everything ! The gold-green pastures 
with herds of tiny rams and cattle and white goats. We arrived 
finally in a valley where the trees were turning. Cherry trees, a 
bright crimson, yellow maples, and apple-trees flashing with ap- 
ples. Little herd girls and boys with switches of mountain ash ran 
by. There was a very old saw-mill that had turned too, a deep 
golden red. There can't be any place in the world more won- 
derful than the road to Lens. It is near there we mean to pitch our 
ultimate tent. 

To Mrs. Charles Renshaw October 14, 1921 

My little Sister, 

Your handkerchief is such a very gay one, it looks as though it 
had dropped off the hankey tree. Thank you for it, darling. I re- 
member one birthday when you bit me! It was the same one when 
I got a doll's pram and in a rage let it go hurling by itself down the 
grassy slope outside the conservatory. Father was awfully angry 
and said no one was to speak to me. Also the white azalea bush was 
out. And Aunt Belle had brought from Sydney a new recipe for 
icing. It was tried on my cake and wasn't a great success because 
it was much too brittle. I can see and feel its smoothness now. You 
make me long to have a talk with you, in some place like the lily 
lawn. Ah, Jeanne, anyone who says to me, " Do you remember ? " 
simply has my heart ... I remember everything, and perhaps 
the great joy of Life to me is in playing just that game. Going back 
with someone into the past going back to the dining-room at 75, 
to the proud and rather angry-looking seltzogene on the sideboard, 
with the little bucket under the spout. Do you remember that hiss 

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Letters 7927 

it gave and sometimes a kind of groan ? And the smell inside the 
sideboard of Worcester sauce and corks from old claret bottles ? 

But I must not begin such things. If we are ever together down 
the Pelorus Sounds come off with me for a whole day will you ? 
and let's just remember. How Chummie loved it, too! Can't you 
hear his soft boyish laugh and the way he said," Oh abso-/A?-ly ! " 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett October 15, 7927 

All this week I have been most fearfully busy with a long story 
which was only finished late last night. Finished it is, however. 
Thanks be to God. It's called The Garden Party, and I have de- 
cided to call my new book by that title instead of the other. In the 
meantime the Mercury is bringing out that very long seaweedy 
story of mine At the Bay. I feel inclined to suggest to them to give 
away a spade an' bucket with each copy. . . . 

Oh, how I saw that awful party! What a nightmare! I have a 
perfect horror of such affairs! They are always the same. One has 
to be encased in vanity like a beetle to escape being hurt. And the 
ghastly thing is they are so hard to forget; one lives them over and 
over. Don't go to them. But what's the use of saying that; there are 
times when one has to go. It's difficult to see what compensations 
there are in city life. I think the best plan is to live away from them 
and then, when one has done a good deal of work and wants a 
holiday, talce a real holiday in a place like Paris, or Madrid or even 
London (but not for me London). It is nice sometimes to be with 
many people and to hear music and to be " overcome " by a play 
and to watch dancing. Walking in streets is nice, too. But one 
always wants to have an avenue of escape. One wants to feel a 
stranger, for these things to have their charm, and most im- 
portant of all one wants to have a solid body of work behind one. 
The longer I live the more I realise that in work only lies one's 
strength and one's salvation. And such supreme joy that one gives 
thanks for life with every breath. 

Midday. Oh, why can't you hear that darling little bell in the 
valley ? It's misty to-day, and the sun shines and the mist is silver. 
It's still. And somewhere there rings over and over that little 
chime, so forgetful, so easy, so gay. It's like a gay little pattern, 
gold and butterflies and cherubs with trumpets in the very middle 

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Letters 1921 

of the page so that one pauses before one begins the afternoon 
chapter. We are going for a picnic. We take the jaeger rug and 
the bastick. And then we lie under a tree. Stir our tea with a twig, 
look up, look down, wonder why. But it begins to get dark earlier. 
At seven o'clock the moon is in full feather on my balcony. . . . 

To the Countess Russell October 16, 7927 

We I miss you, lovely little neighbour. I think of you often. 
Especially in the evenings, when I am on the balcony and it's too 
dark to write or to do anything but wait for the stars. A time I love. 
One feels half disembodied, sitting like a shadow at the door of 
one's being while the dark tide rises. Then comes the moon, mar- 
vellously serene, and small stars, very merry for some reason of 
their own. It is so easy to forget, in a worldly life, to attend to these 
miracles. But no matter. They are there waiting, when one re- 
turns. Dawn is another. The incomparable beauty of every early 
morning, before human beings are awake! But it all comes back 
to the same thing, Elizabeth there's no escaping the glory of Life. 
Let us engage to live for ever. For ever is not half long enough 
for me. 

London feels far away from here. We thrill, we are round-eyed 
at the slightest piece of news. You cannot imagine how your let- 
ter was taken in absorbed. I see you stepping into carriages, driv- 
ing to the play, dining among mirrors and branched candlesticks 
and far away sweet sounds. Disguised in " Kepanapron," I open 
your door to illustrious strangers, Mighty Ones, who take off their 
coats in the large hall and are conducted into your special room 
where the books are. ... Do not forget us. 

J. has been so deep in Flaubert this week that his voice has only 
sounded from under the water, as it were. He has emerged at tea- 
time and together we have examined the . . . very large, solid 
pearls ... I must say I do like a man to my tea. 

And here are your petunias, lovely as ever, reminding me always 
of your garden and the grass with those flat dark rosettes where the 
daisy plants had been. 

But this isn't a letter. Farewell. May Good Fortune fall ever 
more deeply in love with thee. 

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Letters 1927 

To S. 5. Koteliansfy October 18, 

Dear Koteliansky, my enemy, 

Can you tell me anything about that Russian doctor ? If there 
was a chance of seeing him and if he was not too expensive I would 
go to Paris in the Spring and ask him to treat me. . . . 

Not a day passes but I think of you. It is sad that we are enemies. 
If only you would accept my love. It is good love not the erotic 
bag kind. 

But no. You cannot answer my letters. When my name is 
mentioned you cross yourself and touch wood. 

It is sad for me. 


Don't return the post card. [A photograph of herself.] If you 
hate me too much burn it in a candle. 

To the Countess Russell Sunday 

October 1921 

I actually had the strength of mind to keep your letter unopened 
until J. came back from his wood-gathering. Then spying him 
from my balcony while he was still afar off, I cried in a loud voice. 
And he came up and we read it together and thanked God for 
you. . . . You do such divine things! Your visit to Stratford, Ham- 
let in the Churchyard, the snapdragons, the gate of Anne's cot- 
tage, King Lear on the river it all sounded perfect. In fact, 
one felt that if the truth were known William had gathered you 
the snapdragon and you had leaned over the gate together. 

What are you reading, Elizabeth ? Is there something new which 
is very good? I have turned to Milton all last week. There are 
times when Milton seems the only food to me. He is a most blessed 

". . . Yet not the more 
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt 
Cleer Spring, or shadie Grove, or sunnie Hill, 
Smit with the love of sacred song; " 

But the more poetry one reads the more one longs to read! This 
afternoon }., lying on my furry rug, has been reading aloud Swin- 

= 410 = 

Letter s 1921 

burners Ave Atque Vale which did not sound fearfully good. 
\ suspect those green buds of sin and those grey fruits of shame. 
And try as one may, one can't see Baudelaire. Swinburne sits so 
very tight on the tomb. Then we read Hardy's poem to Swinburne, 
which J. adored. I, being an inferior being, was a little troubled 
by the picture of Sappho and Algernon meeting en plein mer (if 
one can say such a thing) and he begging her to tell him where her 
manuscript was. It seemed such a watery rendezvous. But we went 
on reading Hardy. How exquisite, how marvellous some of those 
poems arc ! They are almost intolerably near to one. I mean I al- 
ways long to weep . . . that love and regret touched so lightly 
that autumn tone, that feeling that " Beauty passes though rare, 
rare it be . . ." 

But speaking of autumn, it is here. Yesterday, soft, silky, sweet- 
smelling summer kissed the geraniums, and waving the loveliest 
hand, went. Oh, Elizabeth, how I longed for you this morning 
on my balcony! The sun came through, a silver star. In the folds 
of the mountains little clouds glittered like Dorothy Wordsworth's 
sheep. And all that paysage across the valley was a new land. The 
colour is changed since you were here. The green is gold, a very 
deep gold like amber. On the high peaks snow was falling. And 
the Wind walking among the trees had a new voice. It was 
like land seen from a ship. It was like arriving in the harbour, and 
wondering, half frightened and yet longing, whether we would go 
ashore. But no, I can't describe it. Soon after all was grey and down 
came the white bees. The feeling in the house changed imme- 
diately. Ernestine became mysterious and blithe. The Faithful One 
ran up and down as though with cans of hot water. One felt the 
whisper had gone round that the pains had begun and the doctor 
had been sent for. 

I am just at the beginning of a new story, which I may turn into 
a serial. Clement Shorter wants one. But he stipulates for 13 " cur- 
tains " and an adventure note! Thirteen curtains! And my stories 
haven't even a wisp of blind cord as a rule. I have never been able 
to manage curtains. I don't think I shall be able to see such a whole- 
sale hanging through. 

The knitting becomes almost frenzied at times. We may be sober 
in our lives, but we shall be garish in our shrouds and flamboyant 
in our coffins if this goes on. J. now mixes his wools thereby 

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Letters 7927 

gaining what he calls a "superb astrachan effect." Chi lo sa! I 
softly murmur over my needles. I find knitting turns me into an 
imbecile. It is the female tradition, I suppose. 

To John Galsworthy October 25, 7927 

By an unfortunate mischance your letter only reached me to- 
day. My silence must have seemed very ungracious. . . . Though, 
even now, I scarcely know how to thank you. Your noble generous 
praise is such precious encouragement that all I can do is try to de- 
serve it. I want to promise you that I will never do less than my 
best, that I will try not to fail you. But this sounds superficial and 
far from my feeling. There the letters are, tied up in the silk 
handkerchief with my treasures. I shall never forget them. I wish, 
some day, I might press your hand for them. Thank you " for 

I ought to tell you for after all, you have the key I have been 
haunting the little house in Bayswater Road last week looking 
at the place where the humming birds stood and standing where 
Soames stood in the hall by the hat stand. How I can hear Smithers' 
word " Bobbish " But one must not begin. One could go on for 
ever. All the life of that house flickers up, trembles, glows again, 
is rich again, in these last moments. And then there is Soames 
with Fleun running out of his bosom, so swift, so careless leav- 
ing him bare. . . . Thank you for these wonderful books. . . . 

You asked me about my work. I have just finished a new book 
which is to be published at the New Year. And now I am " think- 
ing out " a long story about a woman which has been in my mind 
for years. But it is difficult. I want her whole life to be in it a 
sense of time and the feeling of " farewell." For by the time 
the story is told her life is over. One tells it in taking leave of her. 
. . . Not one of these modern women but one of those old- 
fashioned kind who seemed to have such a rich being, to live in 
such a living world. Is it fancy? Is it just that the harvest of the 
past is gathered ? Who shall say ? 

In November or December the London Mercury is publishing 
a day in the life of the little family in Prelude. If I may, I should 
very much like to send you a copy. 

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Letters 1921 

The mountains here are good to live with, but it doesn't do to 
look lower. The Swiss are a poor lot. Honesty and Sparsamkeit 
in themselves don't warm one's heart. 

To S. S. Koteliansty 'November 4, 7927 

Thank you for your letter, dear Koteliansky. As I cannot go to 
Paris until the Spring I shall not write to the doctor until then. 
But I am very glad to have his address. 

I am glad that you criticised me. It is right that you should have 
hated much in me. I was false in many things and careless un- 
true in many ways. But I would like you to know that I recognise 
this and for a long time I have been trying " to squeeze the slave 
out of my soul." You will understand that I do not tell you this to 
prove I am an angel now! No. But I need not go into the reasons; 
you know them. 

It's marvellous here just now. The first snow has fallen on the 
lower peaks, and everything is crystal clear. The sky is that mar- 
vellous transparent blue one only sees in early Spring and Autumn. 
It looks so high and even joyful tender. . . . And an exciting 
thing has happened to-day. My ancient geranium which is called 
Sarah has been visited by the angel at last. This geranium has real 
personality. It is so fearfully proud of this new bud that every 
leaf is curling. 

To the Countess Russell November 1921 

It is J.'s turn but I can't refrain from slipping a Bon Jour into the 
envelope. It's such a marvellously Bon Jour, too; I wish I could 
send it you, intact. Blazing hot, with a light wind swinging in the 
trees and an exquisite transparent sky with just two little silver 
clouds lying on their backs like cherubs basking. 

We don't only read Shakespeare and the poets. I have re-read 
Queechy lately, " fresh bursts of tears " and all. I loved it. " ' Mr. 
Carleton, who made that ? ' said the child, pointing to the slowly 
sinking orb on the horizon with streaming eyes. The young Eng- 
lish peer had no answer ready. His own eyes filled. ' Will you lend 
me your little Bible,' he said gently. ' Oh, Mr. C.! * Sobs were her 

= 413 = 

Letters 1921 

only answer, but happy sobs, grateful sobs. She could not see to 
hand it to him, nor he to see it offered." I have also been reading 
modern novels for the Daily News. They are a vulgar, dreary lot. 
Why all this pretence when we have not said a quarter of what 
there is to say. Why can't writers be warm, living, simple, merry 
or sad as it pleases them ? All this falsity is so boring. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett November n, 1921 

I must begin a Service of Thanks. First for your letter and then 
for the little photograph which is the spit of you, and then for 
t'other photograph in the cape and cap. How well I remember 
those caps, especially pinned down at the back on to one's wad of 
hair. I had a pale blue one for one of my journeys to New Zealand 
and, draped with a pale blue gossamer veil, I felt fearfully chic and 
dashing. Human flesh and blood doesn't dare to think what it 
really looked like. . . . My sister has an immense book full of 
photographs from the age of six months. It is the most chastening 
book I know. Really, one's hats, one's waists, and a small black 
round cap with wings I used to affect, which I called always my 
Wooza. It was rather a good name for it. But worn in conjunction 
with a linen collar and large tie. ... I shall never let M. see that 
book. It is-too shattering. 

Thanks again for the Mercury which arrived gummed to its 
eyebrows. I tore my way into it, at last. But a harder roll has never 
entered Switzerland. That blue paper of yours for one thing is a 
kind of very superior rag-book paper. If you drew a crocodile on a 
piece and gave it to an infant the crocodile would live for ever. I 
have preserved a small portion to be used as a patch when M. starts 
learning to ski. ... I wish people would not write that kind of 
article for another five years at least. Though I was very glad the 
man liked my Daughters of the Late Colonel. For I put my all into 
that story and hardly anyone saw what I was getting at. Even dear 
old Hardy told me to write more about those sisters. As if there 
was -any more to say! But, speaking dead seriously, I could do 
with a great deal less praise than I get. It's . . . frightening, and 
I feel with all my heart I want to have another two years' work 
done at least before I am worth talking about. However, I am cer- 

= 4H = 

Letters 1921 

tain my new book will be a failure. There will be reactions against 
it. I count on that, so I mean to make the next one really as good as 
I can. . . . 

The attitude to Art all Art of the rich and great in London 
is odious isn't it ? It always reminds me of the story of Tchekhov 
where the man wants to say, longs to say, "Paws off! " to the 
plebeian. I'd like to say it to not only Lady et Cie. . . . 

Words cannot describe the cold here. We have central heating 
which never goes out, but even then on my balcony I freeze ab- 
solutely hard. The Mountain sends up all the food buttoned into 
tight little suet jackets and we both wear red Indian boots, fur 
lined. They are so nice. One's feet feel like small animals, you dis- 
cover them playing together all on their own. But what shall we 
do if it gets colder ? At present the BIG Snow hasn't fallen. All is 
frozen hard, and each tree has a little mat of white before it. Oh 
dear, it is so beautiful. The mountains are so noble and this snowy 
cover makes one see their shapes every hollow, every peak is 
modelled. But all agree the snow is not serious yet. It falls, small 
and light like confetti, or it swarms like white bees M. comes 
back from his walks hung with real icicles . . . 

I had to break off there, for I was absolutely pursued by birds. 
They were flying right inside the balcony, the lovely creatures, a 
bright salmon pink with silver heads and beaks. I am afraid they 
must have been left behind. So now I have begged a great slice of 
bread from Ernestine and my balcony rail is a very nice restaurant. 
If only they'd come and eat. Precious little creatures how I love 
them. Have I told you about my balcony? It is as big as a small 
room, the sides are enclosed and big double doors lead from it to 
my workroom. Three superb geraniums still stand on the ledge 
when it's fine, and their rosy masses of flowers against blue space 
are wonderful. It is so high up here that one only sees the tops and 
half way down of the enormous mountains opposite, and there's a 
great sweep of sky as one only gets at sea on a ship anchored 
before a new, undiscovered country. At sunset, when all the clouds 
are really too much to bear alone I call out, " Mountains on your 
right a deep blue," and M. shouts from below, " Right! " and I hear 
him go out on his balcony to observe. But it's most beautiful at 
night. Last night, for instance, at about 10 o'clock, I wound myself 

= 415 = 

Letters 1921 

up in wool and I came out here and sat watching. The world was 
like a huge ball of ice. There wasn't a sound. It might have been 
ages before man. . . . 

Tchekhov said over and over again, he protested, he begged, that 
he had no problem. In fact, you know, he thought it was his weak- 
ness as an artist. It worried him, but he always said the same. No 
problem. And when you come to think of it, what was Chaucer's 
problem or Shakespeare's? The "problem" is the invention of 
the iQth Century. The artist takes a long loo\ at life. He says 
softly, " So this is what life it, is it ? " And he proceeds to express 
that. All the rest he leaves. Tolstoy even had no problem. What 
he had was a propaganda and he is a great artist in spite of it. 

November 12, 1921 

It's very late at night and I ate such a stupid man with my tea 
I can't digest him. He is bringing out an anthology of short stories 
and he said the more " plotty " a story I could give him the better. 
What about that for a word ! It made my hair stand up in prongs. 
A nice " plotty " story, please. People are funny. 

The Fat Cat sits on my Feet. 

Fat is not the word to describe him by now. He must weigh 
pounds ar\d pounds. And his lovely black coat is turning white. 
I suppose it's to prevent the mountains from seeing him. He 
sleeps here and occasionally creeps up to my chest and pads 
softly with his paws, singing the while I suppose he wants to 
see if I have the same face all night. I long to surprise him with 
terrific disguises. 

M. calls him "My Breakfast Cat" because they share that 
meal, M. at the table and Wingley on. It's awful the love one 
can lavish on an animal. In his memoirs which he dictates to 
me M.'s name is always Masteranman one word my name 
is Grandma Jaegar the Mountain is always called "Foster- 
monger" and for some reason our servant he refers to as The 
Swede. He has rather a contempt for her. 

4l6 a 

Letters 7927 

To William Gerhardi November 12, 1921 

First of all, immediately, I think your novel * is awfully good. 
I congratulate you. It is a living book. What I mean by that is, 
it is warm; one can put it down and it goes on breathing. I think 
it has defects. But before we speak of them I'd like to tell you 
the things I chiefly admire. I think, perhaps, the best moment 
is at the end; the scene of your hero's return and his walk with 
Nina. There you really are discovered a real writer. There is 
such feeling, such warmth, in these chapters. Nina's " whimsical " 
voice, those kittens, the sofa with broken springs, the " speck of 
soot on your nose " and then at the very end the steamer that 
would not go. I am not quoting these things at random, for their 
charm. But because, taken altogether, they seem to convey to the 
reader just the " mood " you wished to convey. I think at the 
very beginning the tone is just a trifle tragic as it ought not to be. 
But once you are launched it's remarkable how quickly and 
easily you take the reader into that family; and how real you 
make the life, the ways, the surroundings. Fanny Ivanovna is 
very good. I see her. But if you were here I could go into details 
in a way I can't in a letter. And another thing that is good is the 
play of humour over it all. That makes it flexible, warm, easy, 
as it should be. Only in Chapter XI, in your description of the 
" sisters," I think you falsify the tone; it seems to me, you begin 
to tell us what we must feel about them, what the sight of them 
perched on the chairs and sofas really meant, and that's not neces- 
sary. One feels they are being " shown off," rather than seen. 
And you seem in that chapter to be hinting at something, even 
a state of mind of your hero's, which puts the reader off the scent 
a little. But that's just my feeling, of course. 

Now we come to your second " plot," as it were, the Admiral, 
Sir Hugh and the Russian General. What opportunities you must 
have had, what excellent use you made of those opportunities! 
This part of your book is interesting for several reasons. I mean 
the " situation " qud situation is immensely attractive, and your 
principal characters are painted to the Life - They are almost too 
good to be true. Your Russian General is a rare find. I have 

1 Futility, which was sent to K. M. in manuscript. " After this letter," says Mr. Ger- 
hardi, " Futility was overhauled thanks to K. M.'s helpful advice." 

= 417 = 

Letters 1921 

known just such another, though he wasn't a general. But the 
beating in the face, in my friend's case was "beaten to death, 
simply" and the reason was, "to use the English formula, 
the man was a blighter . . ." 

I think the only thing that does not convince me is Nina's 
novel. That feels " strained." It seems to stand out too clearly, 
to be out of focus, even. It's such a remarkable thing to have done, 
that instead of wondering why she did it, one stops short at how. 
It gives the reader the wrong kind of shock. 

Two things more I want to say. One is there are so many unex- 
pected awfully good things that one comes upon as one reads, 
with a small shock of delight. It's as though, being taken by the 
author through his garden you suddenly discover, half tucked 
away, another flowery tree. " So you have these in your garden, 
too . . ." That's the feeling. It makes one want to see more of 
your work. 

The other is, I don't think this book really holds together 
enough, even allowing for the title. It ought to be more squeezed 
and pressed and moulded into shape and wrung out, if you know 
what I mean. And sometimes the writing is careless. All the same, 
if I were you, I would publish it more or less as it stands. I would 
let it go. You will have to take out a good many of the Russian 
expressions and single words. I expect you hear them so distinctly 
in your bjain that you feel they must be there. But they will 
put people off. 

... At that moment I lit a cigarette and re-read what I have 
written, with dismay. ... In trying to be honest I sound carp- 
ing and cold. Not a bit what I feel. Let me end where I began 
by warmly, sincerely congratulating you. That's the most im- 
portant thing of all. And when I say I don't think your novel 
"holds together enough" please remember I'm speaking 
"ideally" . . . 

I hope you will write to me. If you feel offended please tell 
me. It's not easy to talk man to man at a distance. 

And here's your book back again. The Swiss who can let noth- 
ing in or out of their country without taking a share, have, I am 
afraid, nibbled the edges of the cover. 

P.S. The rain thumped. Don't you mean the rain drummed? 

= 418 = 

Letters 1921 

November 14, 1921 

The wools came to-day. They are quite lovely and I feel inclined 
to carry them about, just as they are, like fat dolls. M. was deeply 
moved by their beauty, he is an expert with the needles. . . . 
But we found by piercing the postage signs that you had paid 
vast sums to have them sent over. So here is another cheque, 
and I hope you hear our grateful, thankful thanks all standing 
in a row and singing your praises. 

Isn't leming yellow a fascinating colour? There is a very 
pink pink here too aster pink, which is heavenly fair. I could 
get a wool complex very easily. . . . These are simply perfect 
in every way. 

This is not a letter. Now you owe me one, pleasant thought. 
The day is simply divine so hot that my pink perishall won't 
keep out the sun enough. Blazing! With air that one's very soul 
comes up to breathe, rising like a fish out of the dark water. 

You were not serious about the sweater, were you? But can 
you make sleeves? I can't turn corners for nuts. 

P.S. No, I don't like mousy colours. We began to wind 
after lunch to-day. The cat almost had delirium tremens. We 
thought we should have to chloroform him finally. He sat up and 
began to wind his own tail. 

P.P.S. i purl i plain wool in front of needle knit two to- 
gether slip one cross stitch for 94 lines purl again decrease to form 
spiral effect up leg now use needle as for purl casting on first 
and so continue until length can be divided by three. Care should 
be taken to keep all flat. Press with warm iron and serve. . . . 

Just a little home recipe, ma chere, for a wet evening. 

November 21, 7927 

Your fearfully nice letter makes me wish that instead of up- 
setting your table you would sit down at mine and drink tea 
and talk. But I hasten to answer it for this reason. Have you 
found a publisher for your novel? I know Cobden-Sanderson 
very well. I should be delighted to write to him about it if you 
would care for me to do so. He is a publisher who has only 

= 419 = 

Letter s 7927 

been going for a couple of years or so but he has a very good 
name already. ... If you care to send him yours I shall ask 
Middleton Murry to write as well. For I confess, I let him see 
your novel. Was that a bad breach of confidence? I hope not. 
He agreed enthusiastically that it ought to be published. . . . 

You know, if I may speak in confidence, I shall not be " fash- 
ionable" long. They will find me out; they will be disgusted; 
they will shiver in dismay. I like such awfully unfashionable 
things and people. I like sitting on doorsteps, and talking to 
the old woman who brings quinces, and going for picnics in a 
jolting little wagon, and listening to the kind of music they play 
in public gardens on warm evenings, and talking to captains 
of shabby little steamers, and in fact, to all kinds of people in 
all kinds of places. But what a fatal sentence to begin. It goes 
on for ever. In fact, one could spend a whole life finishing it. 

But you see I am not a high-brow. Sunday lunches and very 
intricate conversations on Sex and that " fatigue " which is so 
essential and that awful " brightness " which is even more essen- 
tial these things I flee from. 

I'm in love with life, terribly. Such a confession is enough to 
waft Bliss out of the Union * . . . 

I am sending you a post card of myself and the two knobs of 
the electric light. The photographer insisted they should be 
there as well. Yes, I live in Switzerland because I have con- 
sumption. But I am not an invalid. Consumption doesn't belong 
to me. It's only a horrid stray dog who has persisted in following 
me for four years, so I am trying to lose him among these moun- 
tains. But "permanently compelled" Oh no! 

To Lady Ottoline Morrell December 1921 

I have just found the letter I wrote you on the first of Novem- 
ber. I would send it you as a proof of good faith but I re-read it, 
Grim thing to do isn't it ? There is a kind of fixed smile on 
old letters which reminds one of the bridling look of old photo- 
graphs. So it's torn up and I begin again. 

I don't know what happens to Time here. It seems to become 
shorter and shorter; to whisk round the corners; to become all 

1 The library of the Oxford Union. 
= 420 = 

Letter s 7921 

tail, all Saturday to Monday. This must sound absurd coining 
from so remote a spot as our mountain peaks. But there it is. 
We write, we read, M. goes off with his skates, I go for a walk 
through my fieldglasses and another day is over. This place makes 
one work. Perhaps it's the result of living among mountains; one 
must bring forth a mouse or be overwhelmed. 

If climate were everything, then Montana must be very near 
Heaven. The sun shines and shines. It's cold in the shade, but 
out of it it is hot enough for a hat and a parasol far and away 
hotter than the S. of France, and windless. All the streams arc 
solid little streams of ice, there are thin patches of snow, like 
linen drying, on the fields. The sky is high, transparent, with 
marvellous sunsets. And when the moon rises and I look out 
of my window down into the valley full of clouds it's like looking 
out of the ark while it bobbed above the flood. 

But all the same I shall never get over my first hatred of the 
Swiss. They are the same everywhere. Ugly, dull, solid lumps, 
with a passion divided between pigs and foreigners. 

Foreigners are what they prefer to gorge themselves with but 
pigs will serve. As to their ankles they fill me with a kind 
of anguish. I should have an ankle complex if I lived in Switzer- 
land long. But one never lives anywhere long. . . . 

M. and I are reading Jane Austen in the evenings. With delight. 
Emma is really a perfect book don't you feel? I enjoy every 
page. I can't have enough of Miss Bates or Mr. Woodhouse's 
gruel or that charming Mr. Knightley. It's such an exquisite 
comfort to escape from the modern novels I have been forcibly 
reading. Wretched affairs! This fascinated pursuit of the sex ad- 
venture is beyond words boring! I am so bored by sex qud sex, 
by the gay dog sniffing round the prostitute's bedroom or by 
the ultra modern snigger worse still that I could die at 

It has turned me to Proust however at last. I have been pre- 
tending to have read Proust for years but this autumn M. and 
I both took the plunge. I certainly think he is by far the most 
interesting living writer. He is fascinating! It is a comfort to have 
someone whom one can so immensely admire. It is horrible to 
feel so out of touch with one's time as I do nowadays almost 

= 421 = 

Letters 1921 

To S. S. Koteliam\y November 29, 7927 

If I trouble you with this request please simply tell me so. 

Do you know where I can obtain any information about Dr. 
Manoukhin's treatment ? I mean has it appeared in any possi- 
ble papers or journals that I can get hold of? I ask for this reason. 
I cannot possibly go to Paris at present. I have no one to send. In 
fact, I have not mentioned this idea to anyone except my doctor 
here. Such things I prefer to do alone. It is not just a whim. 
My doctor here says he will very gladly consider any information 
I can get him about this treatment and as he has a very good X-ray 
apparatus, it could, if it is not the " professional patent " of Doctor 
Manoukhin, be tried here, immediately. 

What should you advise me to do ? 

My difficulty about writing direct is the language. It is one 
thing to explain one's case by speech, it is another to write it in 
a foreign tongue. I should simply antagonise him. . . . But 
the doctor here is quite intelligent and very honest. He is inter- 
ested sincerely. And I have such faith in this " unknown " treat- 
ment. I feel it is the right thing. 

And I want to stop this illness, as soon as possible. 

It is a beautiful, still winter day. There is the sound of a saw 
mill. The sun shines like a big star through the dark fir trees. 

How are you ? 

To Sydney Schiff December 3, 7927 

I am still here to all appearance. But the " essential moi," as 
Daudet would say, is in Paris sitting in a small darkish room 
opposite a man called Manoukhin. Whether I shall follow this 
one I don't know yet. When does one really begin a journey 
or a friendship or a love affair ? It is those beginnings which 
are so fascinating and so misunderstood. There comes a moment 
when we realise we are already well on our way dcja. 

Let us drink champagne when we meet again. Where will that 
be and when? That glimpse of London in your letter just 

that lift of the curtain showing lights, big gay rooms, 's 

mouth, the Ballet a strain, heard from afar and people round 
the table and the sound of the bell . . . you took me there for the 
moment and I passed away from my mountains. 

= 422 = 

Letters 7927 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett December 5, 7921 

These last few days have been rather bad ones tired ones. 
I haven't been able to do anything but read. It's on these occasions 
that one begins to wish for queer things like gramophones. It 
wouldn't matter if one could just walk away. But that's out of the 
question at present. But no more of it. 

Wasn't that Van Gogh shown at the Goupil ten years ago? 
Yellow flowers, brimming with sun, in a pot? I wonder if it is 
the same. That picture seemed to reveal something that I hadn't 
realised before I saw it. It lived with me afterwards. It still does. 
That and another of a sea-captain in a flat cap. They taught me 
something about writing, which was queer, a kind of freedom 
or rather, a shaking free. When one has been working for a long 
stretch one begins to narrow one's vision a bit, to fine things 
down too much. And it's only when something else breaks 
through, a picture or something seen out of doors, that one real- 
ises it. It is literally years since I have been to a picture 
show. I can smell them as I write. 

I am writing to you before breakfast. It's just sunrise and the 
sky is a hedge-sparrow-egg blue, the fir trees are quivering with 
light. This is simply a marvellous climate for sun. We have far 
more sun than in the South of France, and while it shines it is 
warmer. On the other hand out of it one might be in the 
Arctic Zone, and it freezes so hard at night that we dare not 
let the chauffage down, even. It is queer to be in the sun and to 
look down on the clouds. We are above them here. But yesterday 
for instance it was like the old original flood. Just Montana 
bobbed above the huge lakes of pale water. There wasn't a thing 
to be seen but cloud below. 

Oh dear! I am sure by now you are gasping at the dullness 
of this letter. To tell you the truth I am horribly unsettled 
for the moment. It will pass. But while it is here I seem to have 
no mind except for what is worrying me. I am making another 
effort to throw off my chains i.e., to be well. And I am waiting 
for the answer to a letter. I'm half here half away it's a bad 
business. But you see I have made up my mind to try the Russian 
doctor's treatment. I have played my card. Will he answer? 
Will anything come of it? One dares not speak of these things. 

= 423 = 

Letters 7927 

It is so boring, for it is all speculation, and yet one cannot stop 
thinking . . . thinking . . . imagining what it would be like to 
run again or take a little jump. 

To S. S. Kotelians\y December 5, 7921 

I have written to M. to-day. Whatever he advises that will 
I do. It is strange I have faith in him. I am sure he will not have 
the kind of face One walks away from. Besides Think of be- 
ing " well." Health is as precious as life no less. Do you know 
I have not walked since November 1920? Not more than to a 
carriage and back. Both my lungs are affected; there is a cavity 
in one and the other is affected through. My heart is weak, too. 
Can all this be cured. Ah, Koteliansky wish for me ! 

To Stephen Hudson December 8, 7927 

I have read your Elinor Col house more than twice, and I shall 
read it again. I do congratulate you sincerely from my heart. It's 
amazingly good! So good one simply can't imagine it better. 
One pushes into deep water easily, beautifully, from the first 
sentence, and there's that feeling so rare of ease, of safety, of 
wishing only to be borne along wherever the author chooses to 
take one.. 

But how you have conveyed the contrast between Elinor and 
Richard! Am I fantastic in dating it from the moment when 
Richard leaves her after their first meeting, when he opens the 
door on to the brilliant light one feels the appeal of his fairness 
and her darkness in an astonishing way. That moment remains 
with me throughout the book. Let me dare to say it's almost a 
mystical interpretation of their relations. 

Why aren't you here that we might talk it over and over. 
I'd like to recall so much scene after scene rises in my mind. 
But although it is Elinor's book and a triumph for Elinor it's 
your presentation of Richard which I admire so tremendously. 
I don't mean only his boyish charm though Heaven knows 
that is potent enough or even his naturalness which at times 
takes my breath away. But it's Richard's innocence of the wiles 
and arts of Life! It's the sight of him, in the midst of all that 

- 424 = 

Letters 1921 

scheming and plotting and his horror, finally, that this should 
happen to him. . . . 

Of course, all the detail, so fastidious, so satisfying, is beyond 

Elinor lives. I see her, hear her, recognise those fingers with 
the long pointed brilliant nails, look into that little brain. 

Yes, I honour you for it. It's an achievement. I rejoice in your 

To the Countess Russell December 1921 

So awful is the weather that I have retired under the edredon 
until it changes. There is no snow. But there is a cold sheet of icy 
mist, like a slate, pressing against the windows, and we feel like 
slate pencils inside. Nothing warms one. The chauffage goes 
night and day, but one shivers night and day as well. If this is 
the between season people are wise to avoid it. The worst of it 
is our brains are frozen, too. We live for the postman, and he 
brings us bills. We long for letters the kind of letters exiles are 
supposed to receive, and a copy of The Nation comes instead. 
In fact, all is very devilish, and if it weren't for Jane Austen in the 
evenings we should be in despair. We are reading her through. 
She is one of those writers who seem to not only improve by 
keeping but to develop entirely new adorable qualities. Emma 
was our first. John sighed over Jane Fairfax. I felt that Mr. 
Knightley in the Shrubbery would be happiness. But her man- 
agement of her plot the way just for the exquisite fun of 
the thing she adds a new complication that one can't admire 
too greatly. She makes modern episodic people like me, as far 
as I go, look very incompetent ninnies. In fact, she is altogether 
a chastening influence. But ah, what a rare creature ! 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett December 13, 1921 

Why do all my fountain pens die ? I care for them as if they 
were babies and they absolutely refuse to live. Is there such a 
thing as a real pen? 

What a pity it is you can't get a house in St. John's Wood. I 
think it is the one darling part of London. And I always am see- 
ing such houses advertised on the back pages of The Sunday 

= 425 = 

Letters 7927 

Times and The Observer. They sound ideal. Don't you prefer it 
to Hampstead? It has a charm. But perhaps that is because I lived 
there in Carlton Hill for a long time when I was young and very 
very happy. I used to walk about there at night late walking 
and talking on nights in Spring with two brothers. Our house 
had a real garden, too, with trees and all the rooms were good 
the top rooms lovely. But it's all the musical people who 
make St. John's Wood so delightful. Those grunting 'cellos, 
those flying fiddles and the wonderful pianos. It's like a certain 
part of Brussels. And then the house at 5 Acacia Road. It has 
memories but it's not only precious because of them. It was a 
charming house. 

Oh, this cold! I feel like an explorer sending you these lines be- 
fore the snow kills him. It's fearful! One can't work; the brain is 
frozen hard, and I can't breathe better than a fish in an empty 
tank. There is no air, it's a kind of frozen ice. I would leave here 
to-morrow but where can one go ? One begins the wandering of 
a consumptive fatal! Everybody does it and dies. However, I 
have decided to leave this particular house in June, for another 
more remote. I passed it one day lately when I was driving. It's 
in the most superb spot. The forests are on both sides but in front 
there are huge meadows with clumps of fir trees dotted over 
them a kind of i8th century landscape. Beyond the meadows 
tower the .gaunt snow mountains, and behind them is a big lake. 
It is to let in June. We shall take it for a year. My chief reason 
is for the haymaking. One will be in the very midst of it all 
through August. To watch to hear mowing to see the 
carts to take part in the harvest is to share the summer in a 
way I love. You will really swoon at the view or at least I shall 
expect you to!! And we shall eat out of doors eat the hay with 
trimmings and get a little boat and float on the lake and put up 
a hammock and swing in the pines and paddle in the little stream. 
Don't you love to paddle ? 

I must end this letter. It's so dull. Forgive it. Now a pale sun 
like a half-sucked peppermint is melting in the sky. The cat has 
come in. Even his poor little paws are cold, they feel like rubber. 
He is sitting on my feet singing his song. Wingley does not only 
purr; there is a light soprano note in his voice as well. He is very 
nearly human because of the love that is lavished on him. And 

= 426 = 

Letter s 1921 

now that his new coat is grown he is like a cat in a bastick tied 
with ribbon He has an immense ruff and long curly new fur. 
Cats are far nicer than dogs. I shall write a cat story one day. 
But I shall give the cat to C.'s dressmakers, the Misses R. What 
appalling dressmakers they were! They seemed to fit all their 
patterns on to cottage loaves life-size ones or on to ham 
sandwiches with heads and feet. But it was worth it to have gone 
in to their house and heard them as one did. 

Goodbye for now. 

P.S. Dearest Brett. 

Your letter has just come. 


You are not to send a gramophone. 

Please stop at once. 

None of us can possibly afford such a thing. You will be bank- 
rupt after it. Don't do anything of the kind! Only millionaires 
can buy them, I know. I scan the papers! But for the really 
frightfully dear thought a thousand thanks. Yes, I will go to 
Paris if Manoukhin answers. But I can get no reply. Which is 

December 79, 7927 

Since I wrote to you I have been in my familiar land of counter- 
pane. The cold got through as I knew it would and one wing 
only wags. As to Doctor Manoukhin I got the Mountain to 
'phone Paris yesterday and found he was absent and only there 
from time to time, tres rarement. It was impossible for the secre- 
tary to say when. So that doesn't sound very hopeful. I am disap- 
pointed. I had made him my " miracle." One must have a miracle. 
Now I'm without one and looking round for another. . . . Have 
you any suggestions ? 

It has been a fine day. The sun came into this room all the 
afternoon but at dusk an old ancient wind sprang up and it is 
shaking and complaining. A terrible wind a wind that one 
always mercifully forgets until it comes again. Do you know the 
kind of wind I mean! It brings nothing but memories and by 
memories I mean those that one cannot without pain remember. 
It always carries my brother to me. Ah, Brett, I hope with all my 

= 427 = 

Letters 1921 

heart you have not known anyone who has died young long 
before their time. It is bitterness. But what am I thinking of? I 
wanted to write you a Christmas letter. I wanted to wish you joy. 
I can in spite of everything in life. I can, and by that I don't mean 
that it's any desperate difficulty. No, let us rejoice that we are 
alive and know each other and walk the earth at the same time. 
Let us make plans, and fulfil them, and be happy when we 
meet, and laugh a great deal this year and never cry. Above all, 
let us be friends. There was that in your last letter which made 
you dearer to me than ever before. I don't know what it was. 
It was as though you came out of the letter and touched me and 
smiled and I understood your goodness. 

To Thomas and Bessie Moult December 20, 1921 

I cannot let Christmas come without sending you both my 
love and greetings. I love Christmas. ... In that other world 
where wishes are laws, there would be a great shining wreath 
of holly on the door knocker, lights at all the windows, and a 
real party going on inside. We meet in the hall and warmly 
re-clasp hands. Good Heavens! I'm not above a tree, coloured 
candles and crackers are you ? Wait. We shall have it all or 
something better! I will never despair of a real gay meeting, one 
of these days, for us all. It's always only an accident that the day 
is not fine, that one happens for the moment to be under an 
umbrella. It will all flash and sparkle, I truly believe that, sooner 
than we expect. The very fact that we rebel at our little terms 
of imprisonment is proof that freedom is our real element. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett December 22, 7927 

I'm very interested by what you say about Vera. Isn't the end 
extraordinarily good. It would have been so easy to miss it. She 
carried it right through. I admired the end most, I think. Have 
you never known a Wemyss ? Oh, my dear, they are very plenti- 
ful! Few men are without a touch. And I certainly believe that 
husbands and wives talk like that. Lord, yes! 

You are so very superior, Miss, in saying half an hour would 
be sufficient. But how is one to escape ? And also, though it may 

= 428 = 

Letters 7927 

be " drivel " in cold blood, it is incredible the follies and foolish- 
ness we can bear if we think we are in love. Not that I can stand 
the Wemyss " brand." No. But I can perfectly comprehend Lucy 
standing it. I don't think I agree about Lucy either. She could not 
understand her father's " intellect " but she had a sense of humour 
(except where her beloved was concerned). She certainly had her 
own opinions and the Aunt was very sodden at the funeral be- 
cause of the ghastly effect of funerals! They make the hardest 
of us melt and gush. But all the same I think your criticism is 
awfully good of the Aunt, of the whole book in fact. Only one 
thing, my hand on my heart, I could swear to. Never could 
Elizabeth be influenced by me. If you knew how she would scorn 
the notion, how impossible it would be for her. There is a kind 
of turn in our sentences which is alike but that is because we are 
worms of die same family. But that is all. 

About Paris. I have now received the doctor's address from a 
secretary of the Institute and have written him again to-day. 
If I hear I will let you know. It seems more hopeful now that I 
send direct. I am still in bed and dear knows when I shall be out. 
A reply from Manoukhin would be the only thing, I think. (I am 
a bit disheartened to be bac\ here again with all the old para- 
phernalia of trays and hot-water bottles. Accursed disease!) 

To S. S. Koteliansky December 24, 1921 

I have heard from M. to-day. A good letter very. As soon as 
I am well enough to get up I shall go to Paris. He says the treat- 
ment takes 15 weeks if one is not much advanced. But no matter. 
It is fearfully exciting to have heard! 

To Anne Estelle Rice Christmas Eve, 7927 

Suddenly this afternoon as I was thinking of you there flashed 
across my inward eye a beautiful poppy that we stood looking 
at in the garden of the Hotel at Looe. Do you remember that 
marvellous black sheen at the base of the petal and the big 
purplish centre? Then that took me back to our improvised 
cafe just the same table with a bottle on it, and ourselves, out 
of space and time ... for the moment! And from that I began 

= 429 = 

Letters 1921 

to think of your tres blue eyes that I love so and your neck, and 
the comb you wore in your hair the last time you dined with us 
and a pink pinny you had on the first time I saw you in the 
studio in Paris. These things are not the whole of my Anne, but 
they are signs and tokens of her and for the want of a thousand 
others what wouldn't I give at this moment to put my arms 
round her and give her a small squeeze. 

I shall be in Paris, I hope, from May on this year. Will you by 
any chance be there? I am going on a preliminary visit almost 
at once to see a specialist there a Russian and to have some 
teeth pulled out and pulled in again. Then I come back here 
to save pennies for my flight in May. I believe this Russian cures 
people with my complaint. He sounds wonderful. 

It's so long since I have heard of any of the old set. Where are 
they? New friends are not never can be the same, and all 
mine seem to be people I know as a writer, not as a common 
garden human being. Whether they care personally for the smell 
of tangerines or not I haven't the least idea. I can't really care 
for people who are cut off at the head. I like them to exist as far 
as their hearts au moins. Don't ever come to Switzerland, Anne. 
It's all scenery. One gets the same on a Mountain Railway at 6d. 
a go and get off after the last bumping. But the Swiss!! They 
are always cutting down trees and as the tree falls the hausfrau 
rushes out of the kitchen to see, waving a pig-knife and shouting 
a joyful voilal I believe they are full of virtue but virtue is a bad 
boisson to be full of. 

To Lady Ottoline Morrell December 27, 7927 

How lovely the handkerchiefs are with the little swans sailing 
round them. They arrived on Christmas Day its very self, too. 
You know how one watches for that Christmas post at this dis- 
tance I was in bed too, which made my longing even more 
fearful. I had to wait until someone crept up the stairs instead of 
lurking at the door. I really feel that I could write an entire 
book, with each chapter beginning, "The post did not come 
that day " or " That morning the post was late." And I at least 
would thrill and shiver with the horror of it. It's awful to spend 
such emotions on postmen! But there it is. 

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Letters 7927 

We had a "proper" Christmas even to a Tree, thanks to 
the Mountain, who revels in such things and would like all the 
year to be December. The house whispered with tissue paper 
for days, a pudding appeared out of the bosom of the air and 
the sight of that fired even my gentle Ernestine who began, from 
the sounds, to gambol on the ground floor and toss the iron rings 
of the stove on to the floor. The crackers, however, would not 
pull, which cast a little gloom over M., who relishes crackers, and 
the mottoes which were German were very depressing: " Mad- 
chen, mocht ich Frau dir sehen." 

I am glad it is all over but the traces, the signs remain for a 
long time. . . . 

To O. Raymond Drey December 27, 7921 

My dear Drey, what a shockingly proud man you must be! 
I should do no more work. I should just look at him, puff out 
my chest and say to the passers-by, " II est a nous." 

The butler impressed me terribly. At this height and among 
these mountains we scarcely dare think of butlers. My one do- 
mestic, the gentle Ernestine, who weighs about 14 stone, bounds 
up and down the stairs like a playful heifer and bursts into a 
strange, terrible singing whenever she hears a pig being killed, 
is civilizations away from butlers. When I come to see you 
I expect the second footman to take my umbrella and I shall 
curtsey to Anne and present a bouquet. You are very grand but 
not so grand as Willy. His party must have been a very powerful 
affair, Drey. Talk about numbered cloakroom tickets. Willy 
will have to have them for his wives, next time. He will be a 
terribly busy man in Heaven. I am sure the restitution of con- 
jugal rights is a specialite de la maison, there. 

My cat has just leapt on my bed and begun to clean his face 
and his two little chimneys. It's a queer thing. He started life 
in a humble way, like One greater than he he was born in a 
stable and was just an ordinary little black and white kitten. But 
since he came here he has turned into a real Persian with an 
enormous ruff and feathers on his legs. I suppose it is the cold. 
The Swiss, of course, don't keep cats. They are frightened a cat 
might eat the old cabbage stalk they are saving up for the baby 
to cut its teeth on. They are a thrifty race. 

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Letters 1922 

By the way, I suppose you do not know the address of a first- 
class dentist in Paris ? I have to go to Paris very soon and while 
I am there I want to put my head into the jaws of a really good 
painless modern man. Is there such an one? If you would send 
me a card with his name and address I would be awfully grateful. 
Are you wondering why I ask you ? I have a feeling you know 
all these things. I am going as soon as my feet are on the earth 
again, for my teeth are falling like autumn leaves. They have 
very large wooden buns here for tea with nails in them and pow- 
dered glass on the top, expres pour les anglais. I defy anyone 
to grind them to powder without an accident! 

To Sydney Scfiiff December 28, 1921 

I have chosen to-day to write because Manoukhin has come 
a great deal nearer. He has told me that if I go to Paris he will 
treat me by his new method and there is the word guerison 
shining in his letter. I believe every word of it; I believe in him 
implicitly. As soon as I am out of bed (the cold has been too 
cold) Jones will pack the boxes and I shall go to see him and 
arrange to return to town in May. I want to spend the winter 
here. But in May I shall go to Paris for the course of treatment 
which takes 15 weeks. (Manoukhin is not only a doctor. He is 
a whole new stage on the journey. I hardly know why.) His 
treatment consists of applications of the rayons X. 

One word I must say about Joyce. Having re-read The Portrait 
it seems to me on the whole awfully good. We are going to buy 
Ulysses. But Joyce is (if only P. didn't think so, too) immensely 
important. Some time ago I found something so repellent in his 
work that it was difficult to read it. It shocks me to come upon 
words, expressions and so on that I'd shrink from in life. But 
now it seems to me the seeking after Truth is so by far and away 
the most important thing that one must conquer all minor aver- 
sions. They are unworthy. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett January 9, 7922 

You are right. I think of Manoukhin more than anyone can 
imagine. I have as much faith in him as Koteliansky has. I hardly 

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dare think of him fully. No, I dare not. It is too much. But about 
money. I have ,100 saved for this Last Chance and as soon as 
I know he can help me I shall make more. Work is ease, joy, 
light to me if I am happy. I shall not borrow from anyone if I 
can possibly help it. 

I am not frightened of money, for some blessed reason. I know 
I can make it. Once I am well I can make all I want. I don't 
want much. In fact, my plans go on and on, and when I go to 
sleep I dream the treatment is over and I am running, or walking 
swiftly and carelessly by and no one knows I have been ill, no 
one hands me a chair in a shop. Ah, it is too much ! 

This awful writing is frozen writing, Brett. I am writing with 
two icicles for fingers. We have 6 feet of snow here, all is frozen 
over and over, even the bird's tails. Is not that hideous cruelty? 
I have a large table for these precious atoms daily, and the first 
cocoanut in Switzerland is the Big Joint. They can't yet believe 
in the cocoanut. It overwhelms them. A special issue of the Bird 
Times is being issued, the bird who discovered it is to be photo- 
graphed, interviewed and received at Pluckingham Palace and 
personally conducted tours are being arranged. What with them 
and my poor dear pussy-wee, who got out to-day and began to 
scratch, scratched away, kept at it, sat up, took a deep 
breath, scratched his ear, wiped his whiskers, scratched on, 
SCRATCHED, until finally only the tip of a quivering tail was to 
be seen and he was rescued by the gentle Ernestine. He wrung 
his little paws in despair. Poor lamb! to think he will not be able 
to scratch through until April. I suppose snow is beautiful. I 
hate it. It always seems to me a kind of humbug a justification 
of mystery, and I hate mystery. And then there is no movement. 
All is still, white, cold, deathly, eternal. Every time I look out I 
feel inclined to say I refuse it. But perhaps if one goes about and 
skims over, all is different. 

I'm working at such a big story that I still can only just see 
the end in my imagination ... the longest by far I've ever 
written. It's called The Doves' Nest. But winter is a bad black 
time for work, I think. One's brain gets congealed. It is very 

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To S. S. Koteliansfy January 13, 1922 

What a supremely good piece of translation is this story by 
Bunin in The DiaU One simply cannot imagine it better done 
and I am, with everybody else, deeply grateful for the opportunity 
of reading it. 

Bunin has an immense talent. That is certain. All the same 
there's a limitation in this story, so it seems to me. There is some- 
thing hard, inflexible, separate in him which he exults in. But 
he ought not to exult in it. It is a pity it is there. He just stops 
short of being a great writer because of it. Tenderness is a dan- 
gerous word to use, but I dare use it to you. He lacks tenderness 
and in spite of everything, tenderness there must be. ... 

I have been in a horrible black mood lately, with feelings of 
something like hatred towards " everybody." I think one reason 
was I wrote a story I projected my little people against the 
bright screen of Time and not only nobody saw, nobody cared. 
But it was as if the story was refused. It is bitter to be refused. 
Heaven knows one does not desire praise. But silence is hard 
to bear. I know one ought not to care. One should go on quietly. 
But there it is. 

I am leaving for Paris in a fortnight. A chill and the weather 
and money have kept me back. But I shall go then. Shall I write 
to you from there ? 

KoteliaHsky I HATE snow and icicles, and blizzards. It is 
all such mock mystery and a wrestling with the enemy. I love 
the fertile earth Spring. Wouldn't you like to be now this 
instant, in a beech forest with the new leaves just out? 

To Sydney Schiff January 15, 7922 

About Joyce, and my endeavour to be doubly fair to him be- 
cause I have been perhaps unfair and captious. Oh, I can't get 
over a great great deal. I can't get over the feeling of wet linoleum 
and unemptied pails and far worse horrors in the house of his 
mind He's so terribly unfein; that's what it amounts to. There 
is a tremendously strong impulse in me to beg him not to shock 
me! Well, it's not very rare. I've had it before with men and 

1 The Gentleman from San Francisco, translated by S. S. Kotchansky and D. H, 

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women many times in my life. One can stand much, but that 
kind of shock which is the result of vulgarity and commonness, 
one is frightened of receiving. It's as though one's mind goes 
on quivering afterwards. . . . It's just exactly the reverse of the 
exquisite rapture one feels in for instance that passage which ends 
a chapter where Proust describes the flowering apple trees in the 
spring rain. 

Elizabeth has returned to the Chalet. In minute black breeches 
and gaiters she looks like an infant bishop. When she has talked 
about London and the literary " successes " I am thankful to be 
out of it. But Elizabeth "fascinates" me; and I admire her for 
working as she is working now, all alone in her big chalet. She 
is courageous, very. And for some reason the mechanism of Life 
hardly seems to touch her. She refuses to be ruffled and she is 
not ruffled. This is incomprehensible to me. I find it devilish, 
devilish, devilish. Doors that bang, voices raised, smells of cook- 
ing, even steps on the stairs are nothing short of anguish to me at 
times. There is an inner calm necessary to writing, a sense of 
equilibrium which is impossible to reach if it hasn't outward 
semblance. But I don't know. Perhaps I am asking for what can- 
not be. 

I must end this letter. The sun has been out to-day and yesterday, 
and although there is about seven foot of snow and great icicles 
hang from the window frames it is warm, still, delicious. I got 
up to-day and I feel I never want to go to bed again . . . this air, 
this radiance gives one a faint idea of what spring must be here 
early spring. They say that by April the snows have melted and 
even before all is quite gone the flowers begin. . . . 

January 7922 

I should like to have friends, I confess. I do not suppose I ever 
shall. But there have been moments when I have realised what 
friendship might be. Rare moments but never forgotten. I re- 
member once talking it over with Lawrence and he said " We 
must swear a solemn pact of friendship. Friendship is as binding, 
as solemn as marriage. We take each other for life, through every- 
thing for ever. But it's not enough to say we will do it. We must 
swear!' At the time I was impatient with him. I thought it 

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extravagant fanatic. But when one considers what this world is 
like I understand perfectly why L. (especially being L.) made 
such claims. ... I think, myself, it is pride which makes friend- 
ship most difficult. To submit, to bow down to the other is not 
easy, but it must be done if one is to really understand the being 
of the other. Friendship isn't merging. One doesn't thereupon be- 
come a shadow and one remain a substance. Yes, it is terribly 
solemn frightening, even. 

Please do not think I am all for Joyce. I am not. In the past 
I was unfair to him and to atone for my stupidity I want to be 
fairer now than I really feel. ... I agree that it is not all art. 
I would go further. Little, to me, is art at all. It's a kind of stage 
on the way to being Art. But the act of projection has not been 
made. Joyce remains entangled in it, in a bad sense, except at rare 
moments. There is, to me the great distinction between him and 
Proust. . . . 

To Anne Estelle Rice January 16, 7922 

Can you tell me the name of a Hotel in Paris, that has an as- 
censeur that really does go up and down and isn't too terribly un- 
sympathetic ? I simply don't know one nowadays and shall have 
to sit on my luggage while someone looks. Last time I stayed at 
one that Cook's recommended with one of those glass-topped beds 
and strong tea coming out of the hot water tap. They plucked 
me to my last pinfeather for these luxuries. I don't mind where it 
is as long as the lift will go up as well as down so important, 
that. In Switzerland the lifts only go down, never up. It's a mys- 
tery to me. I'd like Fergusson's views on it or Blum's. 

K. : " How does it happen that this lift never goes up ? " 

Swiss (smiling) : " It always goes down, Madame." 

K. : ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 

Swiss: 'l ! ! i I l" ! 


To the Hon. Dorothy Brett January 20, 7922 

I can't get oflf to Paris just yet, for I am still in bed! Six weeks 
to-day with one day's interval. I can't shake oflf this congestion and 
ALL the machinery is out of order. Food is a horror. But I won't 

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give in to it. If I can get well enough to go to Paris, it's all I ask. 
I am fighting for that now. ... I wish I had got there before 
this last bout. I was so much stronger than I am now. But this 
is a bad black month, darling. There is a new moon on the 27th. 
Look at it and wish. I will look at it and wish for you. I feel so in 
your mood listless, tired, my energy flares up and won't last. 
I'm a wood fire. However, I swear to finish my big story by the 
end of this month. It's queer when I am in this mood I always 
write as though I am laughing. I feel it running along the pages. 
If only the reader could see the snail in its shell with the black 

I have just heard from de la Mare about my little family in the 
Mercury and from America where another story of the same peo- 
ple is coming out in The Dial. I feel like Lottie's and Kezia's 
mother after the letters I have got this month. It is surprising and 
very lovely to know how people love little children the most 
unexpected people. 

Here's the doctor stumping up the stairs. 

To Lady Ottoline Morrell January 7922 

I tremble to think of the time we spend in bed wwhappily. It is 
out of all proportion. I am fleeing to Paris on Monday next to see 
if that Russian can bake me or boil me or serve me up in some 
more satisfying way I suppose the snow is very good for one. 
But it's horrid stuff to take and there's far too much of it. Immense 
fringes of icicles hang at our windows. Awful looking things 
like teeth and every Sunday the Swiss fly into the forest on 
little sledges shrieking Ho-je! Ho-je positively makes my blood 
curdle. So off I go on Monday with the Mountain very breathless 
carrying two large suitcases and begging the suitcases' pardon 
when she bumps them into things. I shall only go to spy out 
the land and buy some flowers and wallow in a hot bath. But if the 
Russian says he can cure me, M. and I shall go to Paris in the 
Spring and live there for a time. One writes the word " cure " 
but but I don't know. 

I must ask you if you have read Congreve lately. I have just 
finished The Way of the World. Do read it! for the sake of the 
character Mrs. Millamant. I think she is so exquisitely done when 

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she first appears " full sail " and tells the others how she curls her 
hair. The maid is marvellous in that little scene, too, and the other 
scene is where she decides finally to have Mirabel. That little con- 
versation between the two seems to me really ravishing in its own 
way It's so delicate so gay But it's much best read aloud. 
What a brilliant strange creature Congreve was so anxious not 
to be considered a writer, but only a plain gentleman. And Vol- 
taire's shrewd reply, " If you had been only a gentleman I would 
not have come to see you "... I love reading good plays ; and 
so does M. We have such fun talking them over afterwards. In 
fact, the pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with an- 
other who shares the same books. It is one of the many pleasures 
of our solitary life. Pleasures we have ever increasing. I would 
not change this fynd of life for any other. There are moods of 
course when we long for people. But they pass, leaving no regret, 
no disillusionment, no horrid remembrance And one does have 
time to work. But I wish my new book were a better one. I am 
terrified of it. But it can't be helped now. M. is writing hard, and 
I am in the middle of what looks like a short novel. 
I am so glad you liked The Veil. 1 There is one poem: 

Why has the rose faded and fallen 
And these eyes have not seen. . . . 

It haunts me. But it is a state of mind I know so terribly well 
That regret for what one has not seen and felt for what has 
passed by unheeded. Life is only given once and then I waste it. 
Do you feel that? 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett January 26, 7922 

I'm deadly tired to-night! I wrote and finished a story yesterday 
for The Sketch? The day after that happens is always a day when 
one feels like a leaf on the ground one can't even flutter. At the 
same time there is a feeling of joy that another story is finished. I 
put it in such a lovely place, too. The grounds of a convent in 
Spring with pigeons flying up in the blue and big bees climbing in 
and put of the freezias below. If I lived in the snow long I should 
become very opulent. Pineapples would grow on every page, and 

1 The Veil and Other Poems, by Walter de la Mare. 

2 Taking the Veil see The Doves' Nest. 

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giant bouquets would be presented to each character on his ap- 
pearance. Elizabeth was here yesterday and we lay in my room 
talking about flowers until we were really quite drunk, or I was. 
She describing " a certain very exquisite Rose, single, pale 
yellow with coral tipped petals " and so on. I kept thinking of 
little curly blue hyacinths and white violets and the bird-cherry. 
My trouble is I had so many flowers when I was little, I got to 
know them so well that they are simply the breath of life to me. 
It's no ordinary love; it's a passion. Wait one day I shall have 
a garden and you shall hold out your pinny. In the meantime our 
cat has got his nose scratched beyond words and he's in such a 
condition that he looks as though he has been taking part in a box- 
ing match up a chimney. He is to have lessons on the fiddle this 
Spring. All the BEST cats can play at least Hey-diddle-diddle. He 
must learn. The strings of his fiddle will be of wool, of course, 
and the bow will have a long tassel on it. I believe he can play the 
piano. He sits up and plays with his two front paws: 

Nellie Ely 
Caught a fly 
Put it in her tea! 

This exquisite morceau was in my Pianoforte Tutor, words and all. 
Who can have composed it ? However, it suits Wingley. It's a sub- 
ject he can feel sympathy about. He comes down with such a ter- 
rific whack on the FLY ! He is the most unthinkable lamb, really, 
and I am sorry if I am silly about him. 

But I meant to write about the Flu. You are nervous of it, aren't 
you ? But you can ward it off with food. MILK, my dear. That's 
not hard to take. 

I'm tired of telling you to eat. I now command you to drink. Get 
the milk habit, and become a secret tippler. Take to drink, I im- 
plore you. What the devil does it matter how fat one gets, we shall 
go to Persia where fatness alone is beauty. 

To John Galsworthy Paris 

January 31, 7922 

Your letter came just as I was on the point of leaving home. 
How happy I am that you liked At the Bay and that Madame 
likes my little children and the dog! But it is not your praise that 

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I value most, although I am honoured and proud to have that. 
It is the fact you are watching my work, which is the most precious 

Yes, I have been working a great deal, but in my horrid bed 
where I've been for the past two months. I hope there are no beds 
in Heaven. But I managed to finish a long story there and several 
short ones. 

Now I have come to Paris to see a Russian doctor who promises 
to give me new Wings for old. I have not seen him yet so 
though it's still a miracle one believes. When I have seen him 
I shall go back to Montana again. After these long months in the 
mountains it's the flower shops I long to see. I shall gaze into them 
as little boys are supposed to gaze into pastry-cook's. . . . 

I hope you are well. It would be very delightful to think we 
might meet one day. But please remember how grateful I am. 

To S. S. Koteliansfy Victoria Palace Hotel 

6 Rue Blaise Desgoffe 
Rue de Rennes 
February i, 1922 

I have seen Manoukhine. Yes, one has every confidence in such 
a man. He wishes me to begin the treatment at once. I am taking 
steps to try to do so, but it is not quite easy to arrange. It will cost 
me much money. I have ^100 saved but I must make not only 
another ^100 but enough to live on here and for special food and 
so on. Also I have L. M. to keep as well until I am strong enough 
to walk about and so on. It is all difficult, and for some reason I find 
it hard to accept all its difficulties, as one must. Perhaps for one 
thing it is not nice in a city. I had forgotten how women parade 
about, idle and unworthy, and how ignoble are the faces of men. 
It shocks me to see these faces. I want more than anything to 
cry! Does that sound absurd? But the lack of life in all these faces 
is terribly sad. 

Forgive me. Let me speak of something else for a moment. 
While I was waiting at the clinic to-night the doors were all open 
and in the doctor's cabinet people were talking Russian. They 
talked all together. Doctor M.'s voice was above the other voices, 
but there was a continual chorus all speaking. I cannot tell you 

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Letters 7922 

how I love Russian. When I hear it spoken it makes me think of 
course always of Tchekhov. I love this speech. I thought also of 
you ; and I wished you were with me. 

Now a bell is striking as though it turned over in its sleep to 
strike. It's very late. Good night. 

February 3, 1922 

There is no answer to this letter. But I wanted to tell you some- 
thing very good that happened to-day. Yesterday I decided that I 
must take this treatment and I telephoned M. I was sitting alone in 
the waiting-room of the clinique reading Goethe's conversations 
with Eckermann when M. came in. He came quickly over to me, 
took my hand and said simply, " Vous avez decide de commencer 
avec le traitement. Cest tres bien. Bonne sante! " And then he 
went as quickly out of the room saying, " Tout de suite " (pro- 
nounced "toot sweet" for he speaks very little French). But this 
coming in so quickly and so gently was a beautiful act, never to 
be forgotten, the act of someone very good. 

Oh, how I love gentleness. All these people everywhere are like 
creatures at a railway station shouting, calling, rushing, with 
ugly looks and ways. And the women's eyes like false stones 
hard, stupid there is only one word, corrupt. I look at them and 
I think of the words of Christ, " Be ye therefore perfect even as 
your Father in Heaven is perfect" But what do they care? 
How shall they listen ? It is terribly sad. Of course, I don't want 
them to be all solemn or Sundayfied. God forbid. But it seems 
there is so little of the spirit of love and gaiety and warmth in the 
world just now. Why all this pretence? But it is true it is not 
easy to be simple, it is not just (as A. T.'s friend used to say) a 
sheep sneezing. 

It is raining. There is a little hyacinth on my table a very 
naive one. 

To Anne Estelle Rice February 4, 7922 

Just a mot to say how grateful I am for the address of this hotel. 
It's just what I wanted, and it simply flows with hot baths. 
I have a heaven-kissing room au 6me with a piece of sky outside 
and a view into the windows opposite which I love. It's so nice 

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to watch la belle dame opposite bring her canary in when it rains 
and put the hyacinth out. I have decided to stay in Paris and not 
go back to that Switzerland. There is a man here did I tell you 
about him? (It sounds rather an ambiguous beginning, by the 
way). But enfin, there is a man here who treats my maladie with 
the X-rays and I am going to him for this treatment. I had the 
first yesterday and feel at this moment full of the rayons bleus 
rather like a deep sea fish. But he promises to cure me by the sum- 
mer. It's hard to believe it. But if it is true, I shall take a Puffi to 
your very door an' come an' have tea with David out of a very 
little small teapot. The only fly in the ointment is the terrific ex- 
pense. It's 300 francs a time. However, I have been fortunate with 
my work lately and I'll just have to do a double dose of it until 
this is paid off. Money is a bore, but I never take it dead seriously, 
and I don't care if I haven't a sou as long as I can leap and fly 

You know I really do expect you in the SPRING. I feel the 
winter is over already and I read in the Daily Mail yesterday that 
the Dog's Mercury is out. But what is the Dog's Mercury ? And 
does the Dog know? I hope he's very pleased but I expect he just 
looks at it and bolts it and goes on with a kind of " So that's that " 
air. Sad for the Dog's Mercury, don't you think ? 

Well, dearest, I feel a bit weak in the pen this morning, and in- 
clined to laugh at rien you know the feeling. It's a fool of a day 
here, sunny and wintry. Fat old men lose their hats and cry houp-la 
as they stagger after them. 

To J. M. Murry February 7, 1922 

I have had no news from you to-day yet (3 P.M.). I expect it is 
the snow. Arctic conditions prevail in Switzerland, so the papers 
say. I hope that you manage to keep warm and that Wingley's 
tail is not frozen. 

Advise me will you ? I am looking for a tiny flat very small 
a mouse's hole just big enough to nibble a pen in. If I find 
anything suitable I shall take it until the end of May and L. M. 
will look after it to save money on servants and so on. But (this 
is where I want your advice) to whom can I apply for a reference ? 
They are sure to ask me for at least two. Can you think of any- 

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body? I wish you could answer this as soon as possible. A card 
will suffice, as they say. It's rather urgent. Flats are so scarce here 
and I want to be settled as soon as possible once something is 
found. Of course, it may be all a wild goose chase. L. M. has gone 
of? to an agent this afternoon. But there it is! 

I have started a new Shakespeare note book. I hope you will let 
me see yours one day. I expect they will be legion by that time. 
And, reading with the point of view of taking notes, I begin to 
see those marvellous short stories asleep in an image as it were. 
For instance, 

..." Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream, 

Goes to and back, lackeying the varying tide, 
To rot itself with motion." 

That is terrible, and it contains such a terribly deep psychological 
truth. " That rots itself "... and the idea of it returning and re- 
turning, never swept out to sea finally. You may think you have 
done with it for ever, but comes a change of tide and there is that 
dark streak reappeared, more sickeningly rotten still. I under- 
stand that better than I care to. I mean alas ! I have proof of 
it in my own being. 

There are awful good oranges to be had in Paris. But there's 
nothing else good that I know nothing fresh, sound, or sweet. 
But mine's a partial view, of course. I have done with cities for 
ever. I want flowers, rather sandy soil, green fields, and a river 
not too deep to paddle in, also a large number of ancient books 
and a small but very pretty cow. In fact, I should like the cow 
to be strikingly pretty. I shall put it in the advertisement. " No 
plain cows may apply." No, I can't do that. It's too cruel. But it's 
an airy-fairy herd for a long time, I'm afraid. How is your work 
going ? If I am very dull for five weeks, you must remember that 
for 5 weeks this treatment makes one rather worse. After that 
you will have to snatch my letters (like snapdragons) all Waging 
out of the postman's bag. 

To William Gerhardi February 8, 7922 

I can't tell you how honoured I am by your asking me to be 
Godmother. I have the warmest feelings towards your little 

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nouveau-ne and shall watch its first steps with all the eagerness a 
parent could desire. I cast about in my mind as to what to send it. 
Not a silver mug. No, not a mug. They only tilt them over their 
noses and breathe into them. Besides, the handle of mine, being 
silver, was always red hot, so that I had to lap up what was in- 
side, like a kitten. . . . The matter I see demands time for con- 
sideration. But very seriously, I am most happy Cobden- 
Sanderson liked your book. I am sure it will be a success. And I look 
forward to reading it again and making other people read it. 
All success to you and many many thanks. 

Please do not praise me too much. It is awfully nice to be 
praised, but at the same time it makes me hang my head. I have 
done so little. I should have done so much more. There are these 
rows of stories, all waiting. All the same, I can't deny that praise 
is like a most lovely present, a bright bouquet coming to me (but 
gently! I hope) out of the air. 

Don't imagine for one moment though, that I think myself 
wonderful ! That is far, far from the truth. I take writing too se- 
riously to be able to flatter myself. I've only begun. The only story 
that satisfies me to any extent is the one you understand so well, 
The Daughters of the Late Col., and parts of Je ne parle pas. But 
Heavens, what a journey there is before one! 

By the way, for proof of your being a writer you had only to 
mention a bath chair and it crept into your handwriting. It was 
a queer coincidence. I had just been writing about a bath chair my- 
self and poor old Aunt Aggie, who had lived in one and died in 
one glided off, so that one saw her in her purple velvet steering 
carefully among the stars and whimpering faintly as was her ter- 
restial wont when the wheel jolted over a particularly large one. 
But these conveyances are not to be taken lightly or wantonly. 
They are terrible things. No less. 

I hope if you do come to Paris at Easter you will come and see 
me. By then I expect I shall have a little flat. I am on the track 
of a minute appartment with a wax-bright salon where I shall sit 
like a bee writing short stories in a honeycomb. But these retreats 
are hard to find. 

I am here undergoing treatment by a Russian doctor, who claims 
to have discovered a cure for tuberculosis by the application of 
X-rays. The only real trouble is it's terribly expensive. So much so 

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that when I read the price I felt like Tchekhov wanted Anna Iva- 
nova to feel when she read his story in a hot bath as though 
someone had stung her in the water and she wanted to run sob- 
bing out of the bath-room. But // it all comes true it means one will 
be invisible once more no more being offered chairs and given 
arms at sight. A close season for ever for hot-water bottles and 
glasses of milk. Well, people don't realise the joy of being in- 
visible it's almost the greatest joy of all. But I'll have to write 
at least a story a week until next May, which is a little bit 

Oxford, from the papers, sounds very sinister. And why when 
people receive anonymous boxes of chocolate do they always wait 
to hand them round until friends come to tea ? What ghouls they 
are, to be sure! Professor X., who saved the lives of Doctor and 
Mrs. R. sounds profoundly moved. I should feel very tempted 
were I in Oxford to hm hm better not. No doubt the 
secret police has steamed this letter over a cup of warm tea. . . . 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett St. Valentines Day 

February 14, 7922 

I do hope your tooth is better. Why have we got teeth ? Or why 
haven't we brass ones. I cling to mine but I feel they will all go 
one day and the dentist is such a terrifying animal. I hate to think 
of dear Tchekhov in Nice, with toothache, where he says, " I was 
in such pain I crawled up the wall." That just describes it. It is 
maddening and exhausting to have toothache; I do hope yours 
is over. 

Where is your little house! It is somewhere but where? 
Sometimes I think it must be in the branches of a tree. Do let me 
know. I think you are very wise not to take a big one. Little 
houses are always best. A house is like an ark one rides the 
flood in it. Little ones bob over the waves and can rest on the 
extreme tops of mountains much better than great big ones. 
Can I be official Godmother to the garden? I should like to 
STARTLE you with the most superb things and to send you seeds 
from the far corners of the earth and have a boronia plant below 
the studio window. Do you know the scent of boronia? My 
grandma and I were very fond of going to a place called McNab's 

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Tea Gardens and there we used to follow our noses and track 
down the boronia bushes. Oh, how I must have tired the darling 
out! It doesn't bear thinking about. 

I hope G.'s show goes off well. It's not a very good moment 
for selling pictures, or so I should think. There is an unrest in 
every one. It's between light and dark, between winter and spring. 
People are neither open or closed. The moment to catch them is 
just a little bit later. I think the time for a picture show or to 
publish a book is in the first days of real spring or just at the be- 
ginning of Autumn. We are more alive then than at any other 
time. We are in the mood to receive. It seems to me one ought to 
link up all one's projects as much as possible with the earth's prog- 
ress. The more I know of life the more I realise it is profoundly 
influenced by certain laws, no matter how many people ignore 
them. If we obey them our work goes well; we get our desire. It's 
like studying the tides before we put out to sea in our fishing boat. 
We are all sailors, bending over a great map. We ought to choose 
the weather for our journey. 

M. is here. Two days were enough to disgust him with Switzer- 
land. He will stay here now, and at the end of March we are go- 
ing into a flat which we have found. Awfully nice high up 
but absurdly furnished, like the Arabian Nights by Poiret. Very 
sumptuous and exotic. When you come to see me a little black boy 
with a pineapple on his head will open the door. 

This is an excellent hotel. We have two rooms at the end of a 
passage, cut off from the rest of the hotel, with a bath-room and 
masses of hot water. Rooms cost from 13 francs a day. There is a 
lift, of course, and we can eat on the premises. If I were you I'd 
come here at Easter. All rooms have hot and cold water. After 7 
months in that cleanliness I feel water and soap are the great 
necessities. M. and I have settled down according to programme, 
as we always do. We work, play chess, read, make our tea and 
drink it out of our small bowls. I can do nothing but get up and 
lie down, of course, and Manoukhin says in three weeks I shall 
have a real reaction and then be able to do even less than that for the 
next three weeks. It's rather like waiting to have an infant 
new born health. My horrid time ought to be just over by Easter. 

I must begin work. Seven stories sit on the doorstep. One has its 
foot inside. It is called The Fly. I must finish it to-day. This is a 

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hard moment for work don't you feel ? It's hard to get life into 
it. The sun is not up yet. Oh Spring, hurry, hurry! Every year I 
long more for Spring. 

It's a pig of a day a London fog outside the windows and I 
have to pull my stockings on. Think of pulling one's stockings 
on like winking without noticing even. Can that happen to 
me again ? 

February 26, 7922 

What is it doing in London to-day ? Here it is Spring. For days 
past it has been warm, blue and gold, sunny, faint, languishing, 
soft, lovely weather. Isn't it the same over there ? The reckless lift 
boy says " dans un mois il serait pleine etc! " That's the kind of 
large remark I love the French for. They have very nearly hung 
out their sun-blinds; they have quite turned the puddings into 
little ices in frills. But why can't I send some of this weather over 
to you? Can't it be done? Look in the glass. If there is a very 
bright gay sunbeam flittering on your hair I sent it from Paris 

expres. At any rate, you are putting out new leaves, crepe de 
chine ones and baby ribbon ones. The craving for a new hat is 
fearful in the Spring. A light, crisp, fresh new-curled hat after 
these winter dowdies. I suffer from it now. If I had one I should 
wear it in bed ! But the barber is cheaper. He came yesterday and 
gave me a coup de fer to my wool. Now it's all waves on top. (I 
have a great tendre for barbers.) 

About painting. I agree. Good as he is I shall never forget seeing 
a ballet-dancer of his it was the last thing I saw of his at his 
studio. A tf/to-dancer. A big, big meaty female dressed in a cauli- 
flower! I don't mean to be horrid; but I do not and cannot under- 
stand how one can paint such pictures. They are so dull they make 
me groan. Hang it all, Brett a picture must have charm or 
why look at it ? It's the quality I call tenderness in writing, it's the 
tone one gets in a really first-chop musician. Without it you can 
be as solid as a bull and I don't see what's the good. 

Talking about feeling. I had a shock yesterday. I thought my 
new book would enrage people because it had too much feeling 

and there comes a long review talking of the " merciless analy- 
sis of the man of science." It's a mystery. If you do see my book 

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read a story called The Voyage will you ? Keep it if you like 
it. ... 

Now I have arrived at the word " primroses " and I see them. 
Delicate pinkish stems, and the earthy feeling as one picks them so 
close to the damp soil. I love their leaves too, and I like to kiss 
buds of primroses. One could kiss them away. They feel so mar- 
vellous. But what about blue-bells? Oh dear! Blue-bells are just 
as good. White ones, faint blue ones that grow in shady hollows, 
very dark blue ones, pale ones. I had a whole spring full of blue- 
bells one year with Lawrence. I shall never forget it. And it was 
warm, not very sunny, the shadows raced over the silky grass and 
the cuckoos sang. 

Later. I then got up, had a big blue bath and a rather horrid 
lunch. Then played chess, wrote for a couple of hours, had tea 
and foie gras sandwiches and a long discussion with M. on " liter- 
ature." Now the light is lighted. Outside there's a marvellous deep 
lilac sky and I shall work again until dinner. It's strange how nice 
it is here. One could scarcely be more free. The hotel servants 
are just a little bit impudent and that's nice, too. There is no ser- 
vility. I want to tell you that the barber was in raptures with your 
still life. I think that's a great compliment, don't you? It grows 
before one's eyes, said he. " II y a de la vie un mouvement dans 
les feuilles." Excellent criticism! He, good man, was small and 
fair and like all barbers smelt of a violet cachou and a hot iron. 
He begged, he implored me to go to the cinema near here. Down- 
stairs it was a little mixed but upstairs, on the balcon, there were 
armchairs of such size and beauty that one could sleep in them. 
. . . Oh Brett, how I like simple people not all simple people, 
some are simple pigs but on the whole how much more sym- 
pathetic than the 's this world! Whatever else they have, 

they are alive. What I cannot bear is this half-existence. This life 
is the head alone. It's deadly boring. 

I think my story for you will be called Canaries. The large cage 
opposite has fascinated me completely. I think and think about 
them their feelings, their dreams, the life they led before they 
were caught, the difference between the two little pale fluffy ones 
who were born in captivity and their grandfather and grandmother 
who knew the South American forests and have seen the im- 
mense perfumed sea. . . . Words cannot express the beauty of 

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that high shrill little song rising out of the very stones. ... It 
seems one cannot escape Beauty ... It is everywhere. 

I must end this letter. I have just finished a queer story called 
The Fly. About a fly that falls into an inkpot and a Bank Manager. 
I think it will come out in the Nation. The trouble with writing 
is that one seethes with stories. One ought to write one a day at 
least, but it is so tiring. When I am well I shall still live always far 
away in distant spots where I can work and look undisturbed. No 
more literary society for me ever. As for London, the idea is too 
awful. I shall sneak up to Pond Street every now and again 
very rarely indeed and I'll beg you not to let a soul know. It's no 
joke, my dear, to get the letters I do from people who want to 
meet one. It's frightening! 

To William Gerhardi March 3, 7922 

I meant, only the first chapter, not the " confession." * No, I 
don't think that's a bit too " tragic." I can assure you I never stick 
pins into my cat; he's far more likely to stick pins into me. 

And the reason why I used the " florid " image 2 was that I was 
writing about a garden party. It seemed natural, then, that the 
day should close like a flower. People had been looking at flowers 
all the afternoon, you see. 

Thank you for your delightful letter. I shall write en quelques 
jours. Just for the moment I'm having rather a fight with the 
rayons X. 

To Lady Ottoline Morrcll March 4, 7922 

It's a joy to know that The Garden Party has given you pleasure 
and especially that you like my poor old girls, the " Daughters." 
I shall never forget lying on that wretched little sofa in Mentone 
writing that story. I couldn't stop. I wrote it all day and on my 
way back to bed sat down on the stairs and began scribbling the 
bit about the meringues. 

But your beautiful letter is too generous. I can't pretend praise 
isn't awfully nice! And especially as I have not heard one word 

1 Futility, in the original version. 

2 " I had written jokingly to K. M. of a criticism [of The Garden Party] overheard 
on that score." W. G. 

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from anyone whom I know personally since the book appeared. 
Reviews there have been and a few notes from strangers. But 
that's not at all the same. I didn't expect to hear and yet my " sub- 
conscious mind " has been intensely interested in whether there 
are any letters or not! I don't think it's bad pride that makes one 
feel like that. It's the " You feel that too ? You know what I was 
trying to say," feeling which will be with me while life lasts. Or 
so I feel. I treasure your letter, even though my Garden Party 
doesn't deserve it. 

Brett sent me a couple of pages from Vogue with reproductions 
of Gertler's paintings. 

I cannot say what is happening. I believe just blindly believe. 
After all illness is so utterly mysterious that I don't see why one 
shouldn't recover as mysteriously. I have a sneaking feeling all 
the time that Coue is really the man and Coue would only charge 
3d. where this man squeezes three hundred francs a time out of me. 
Happily I have saved ^100 so I can pay. But if it is all my eye at the 
end I shall look awfully silly and dear knows what will happen. But 
anything, anything to be out of the trap to escape, to be free. No- 
body understands that " depression " who has not known it. And 
one cannot ever explain it. It's one's own secret. And one goes on re- 
belling. Yes, I do, too. But don't you think we do feel it more than 
other people because of our love of life ? Other people really don't 
care so much. They have long periods of indifference, when they al- 
most might as well be ill. But this poignant, almost unbearable 
feeling that all is pasisng. People who are well do not and can- 
not understand what it is. ... 

We have not seen one French person to talk to. We live here like 
hermits in our two caves at the end of a long dark passage. We 
work, play chess, read, M. goes out and does the shopping; we 
make tea and drink it out of dove-blue bowls. For some reason, it's 
all very nice. I should hate to live in a city in fact I could not, 
but this is only to last till May. And out of my window I look 
on other windows and see the funny things people put on the 
window sills, a hyacinth, a canary, a bottle of milk, and there's 
a large piece of light, pale sky, and a feeling of Spring. Real 
Spring. Yesterday on my way to the clinic I saw new leaves on 
one little tree. It's quite warm too and sunny. We have planned 
to go to Germany or to Austria this summer if if IF. . . . 

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To the Hon. Dorothy Brett March 9, 7922 

As to my being humble. Oh dear ! That's between me and my 
God. I should retire behind 500 fans if anyone told me to be 
humble ! You don't imagine that reviews and letters and requests 
for photographs and so on make me proud, do you ? It's a deep 
joy to know one gives pleasure to others, but to be told that in- 
creases one's store of love not pride. Also what has it got to do 
with one's work? I know what I have done and what I must do; 
nothing and nobody can change that. 

A whiff of London came from the last pages of your letter, a 
whiff of years and years ago, a kind of ashy feeling. Oh, I shall 
never go back to England again except en passant. Anywhere, 
anywhere but England ! As I write there's a sound of sweet scold- 
ing from the pigeons outside. Now it rains, now it's sunny. The 
March lion is chasing the March lamb, but not very seriously. 
The lamb does not mind much. They have an understanding. 
I was reading La Fontaine's Fables in bed early. Do you know 
them? They are fearfully nice too nice for words. What a 
character the ant is, a little drop of bitterness and fury and slam- 
ming her door in everybody's face; and the frog. I am so sorry for 
him. He had a sister, too. She should have warned him. Instead 
she stood by and gloated. La Fontaine must have been an adorable 
man a kind of Fabre. Very distrait, very amorous. He didn't 
even know his own children. He forgot their faces and passed 
them by in the street. I don't expect they cared. 

France is a remarkable country. It is I suppose the most civilised 
country in the world. Bookshops swarm in Paris and the news- 
papers are written in a way that English people would not stand 
for one moment. There's practically no police news. True, they 
did write about Landru's execution, but so well it might have 
been de Maupassant! They are corrupt and rotten politically, that's 
true. But oh, how they know how to live! And there is always 
the feeling that Art has its place ... is accepted by everybody, 
by the servants, by the rubbish man as well as by all others as 
something important, necessary, to be proud of. That's what makes 
living in France such a rest. If you stop your taxi to look at a tree 
the driver says, " En effet cY arbre est bien jolie," and ten to one 
moves his arms like branches. I learnt more about France from 

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my servant at Mentone than anywhere. She was pure French, 
highly highly civilized, nervous, eager, and she would have under- 
stood anything on earth you wished to explain to her, in the ar- 
tistic sense. The fact is they are always alive, never indifferent as 
the English are. England has political freedom (a terrific great 
thing) and poetry and lovely careless lavish green country. But 
I'd much rather admire it from afar. English people are I think 
superior Germans. (10 years hard labour for that remark.) But it's 
true. They are the German ideal. I was reading Goethe on the 
subject the other day. He had a tremendous admiration for them. 
But all through it one feels " so might we Germans be if we only 
knocked the heads of our police off." 

It's fascinating to think about nations and their " significance " 
in the history of the world. I mean in the spiritual history. Which 
reminds me I've read lately 2 amazing books about present-day 
Russia. One by Merejkovski and Zinaida Hippius and the other 
by Bunin. It is a very extraordinary thing that Russia can be there 
at our back door at furthest, and we know nothing, pay no at- 
tention, hear nothing in English. These books were in French. 
Both were full of threats. " You may think you have escaped. 
But you have not escaped. What has happened to us will happen 
to you. And worse. Because you have not heard our prayers." 
The ghastly horror and terror of that life in Petrograd is impos- 
sible to imagine. One must read it to know about it. But English 
people, people like us, would never survive as some of these Rus- 
sian intellectuals have survived. We would die of so many things, 
vermin, fright, cold, hunger, even if we were not assassinated. 
At this present moment life in Russia is rather like it was four 
centuries ago. It has simply gone back four centuries. And anyone 
who sympathizes with Bolshevism has much to answer for. Don't 
you think that the head of Lenin is terrifying ? Whenever I see his 
picture it comes over me it is the head of something between an 
awful serpent and a gigantic bug. Russia is at present like an 
enormous hole in the wall letting in Asia. I wonder what will 
happen, even in our little time. 

But do you really feel all beauty is marred by ugliness and the 
lovely woman has bad teeth ? I don't feel quite that. For it seems 
to me if Beauty were Absolute it would no longer be the kind of 
Beauty it is. Beauty triumphs over ugliness in Life. That's what 

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I feel. And that marvellous triumph is what I long to express. The 
poor man lives and the tears glitter in his beard and that is so 
beautiful one could bow down. Why ? Nobody can say. I sit in a 
waiting-room where all is ugly, where it's dirty, dull, dreadful, 
where sick people waiting with me to see the doctor are all marked 
by suffering and sorrow. And a very poor workman comes in, 
takes off his cap humbly, beautifully, walks on tiptoe, has a look 
as though he were in Church, has a look as though he believed 
that behind that doctor's door there shone the miracle of healing. 
And all is changed, all is marvellous. It's only then that one sees 
for the first time what is happening. No, I don't believe in your 
frowsty housemaids, really. Life is, all at one and the same time, 
far more mysterious and far simpler than we know. It's like reli- 
gion in that. If we want to have faith, and without faith we die, 
we must learn to accept. That's how it seems to me. 

To William Gerhardi March 13, 7922 

Please do not think of me as a kind of boa-constrictor who sits 
here gorged and silent after having devoured your two delightful 
letters, without so much as a " thank you." If gratitude were the 
size and shape to go into a pillar box the postman would have 
staggered to your door days ago. But I've not been able to send 
anything tangible. I have been I am ill. In two weeks I shall 
begin to get better. But for the moment I am down below in the 
cabin, as it were, and the deck, where all the wise and happy peo- 
ple are walking up and down and Mr. Gerhardi drinks a hundred 
cups of tea with a hundred schoolgirls, is far away. . . . But I 
only tell you this to explain my silence. I'm always very much 
ashamed of being ill; I hate to plead illness. It's taking an unfair 
advantage. So please let us forget about it. ... 

I've been wanting to say how strange, how delightful it is 
you should feel as you do about The Voyage. No one has men- 
tioned it to me but Middleton Murry. But when I wrote that little 
story I felt that I was on that very boat, going down those stairs, 
smelling the smell of the saloon. And when the stewardess came 
in and said, " We're rather empty, we may pitch a little," I can't 
believe that my sofa did not pitch. And one moment I had a little 
bun of silk-white hair and a bonnet and the next I was Fenella 

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hugging the swan neck umbrella. It was so vivid terribly 
vivid especially as they drove away and heard the sea as slowly 
it turned on the beach. Why I don't know. It wasn't a memory 
of a real experience. It was a kind of possession. I might have re- 
mained the grandma for ever after if the wind had changed that 
moment. And that would have been a little bit embarrassing for 
Middleton Murry. . . . But don't you feel that when you write ? 
I think one always feels it, only sometimes it is a great deal more 

Yes, I agree with you the insulting references to Miss Brill 
would have been better in French. Also there is a printer's error, 
" chere " for " cherie." " Ma petite chere " sounds ridiculous. . . . 

And yes, that is what I tried to convey in The Garden Party. 
The diversity of life and how we try to fit in everything, Death 
included. That is bewildering for a person of Laura's age. She 
feels things ought to happen differently. First one and then an- 
other. But life isn't like that. We haven't the ordering of it. Laura 
says, " But all these things must not happen at once." And Life 
answers, " Why not ? How are they divided from each other ? " 
And they do all happen, it is inevitable. And it seems to me there 
is beauty in that inevitability. 

I wonder if you happened to see a review of my book in Time 
and Tide. It was written by a very fierce lady indeed. Beating in 
the face vyas nothing to it. It frightened me when I read it. I shall 
never dare to come to England. I am sure she would have my blood 
like the fish in Cock Robin. But why is she so dreadfully violent ? 
One would think I was a wife beater, at least, or that I wrote all 
my stories with a carving knife. It is a great mystery. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett March 15, 7922 

If you were here, as it happens you wouldn't have listened to a 
word of what I've been saying. Your eyes, green with envy would 
have been fixed on, hypnotised by two very old apothecary's jars 
on my dressing table. Murry, who is a very good nose-flattener 
has been gazing at them for days and yesterday he bought them. 
They are tall milk-white jars painted with a device in apple green, 
faint yellow and a kind of astery pink. They have gold tops. On 
one in exquisite lettering is the word Absinthii, on the other 

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Theriaca. We intend to keep pot-pourri in them during our lives 
and after our deaths we intend to put our ashes in them. I'm to be 
Absinthii and M. Theriaca. So there they stand, our two little 
coffins, on the dressing table and I've just sent M. out for some 
fresh flowers to deck them with as I've not pot-pourri. But if I am 
well enough to nose-flatten at Easter, you and I must go off with 
our little purses in our little hands and glare ! 

Are you aware that there is an extremely fine Punch and Judy 
in the Luxembourg? In a theatre of its own. Stalls 2d., Pit 2d. too. 
The audience screams frightfully and some are overcome and 
have to be led out. But there it is. We had better buy some com- 
fits from the stall under the chestnut tree and go there, too. I be- 
lieve there is a one-eyed thief who comes in, rather, looks round 
a corner, who really is awful. M. said " he let out a yell himself " 
and the little boy next to him roared. You know the kind of eye. 
[A drawing of it.] 

The weather is glorious here. Warming, sunny. So mild one 
hears the voices of people in the open air, a sound I love in Spring, 
and all the windows opposite mine stand wide open, so that I see 
at one the daughter sewing with her mother, at another the Jap- 
anese gentleman, at another two young people who have a way 
of shutting their bedroom window very quickly and drawing the 
curtain at most unexpected moments. ... I can't go out, though, 
not even for a drive. I am and shall be for the next ten days rather 
badly ill. In fact, I can only just get about at all. But Manoukhin 
says the worse one is at this time the better later on. So there's 
nothing to be done but to be rather dismally thankful. 

Later. M. has just come in with 2 bunches of anemones, two 
small tea plates and a cake of rose the soap. We have had our tea 
and I'm going back to bed. What is a nuisance is I cannot work for 
the moment and Shorter has ordered 13 stories, all at one go, to 
be ready in July. So they are in addition to my ordinary work. 
I shall have to spend a furious May and June. 

The chestnuts are in big bud. Don't you love chestnut buds? 
I shall have a look at them on Friday. I think they are almost the 
loveliest buds of all. 

Oh, your cinerarias. I wish I could see them. Do you know the 
blue ones, too! And the faint, faint pink kind? Mother loved 
them. We used to grow masses in a raised flower bed. I love the 

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shape of the petals. It is so delicate. We used to have blue ones in 
pots in a rather white and gold drawing room that had green 
wooden sunblinds. Faint light, big cushions, tables with " photo- 
graphs of the children " in silver frames, some little yellow and 
black cups and saucers that belonged to Napoleon in a high cup- 
board and someone playing Chopin beyond words playing 
Chopin. ... Oh how beautiful Life is. How beautiful! A knock 
at my door. The maid has come in to close the shutters. That's 
such a lovely gesture. She leans forward, she looks up and the 
shutters fold like wings. 

To Sir Harold Beauchamp March 18, 7922 

I have found it almost impossible to do any work so far, as the 
treatment is exceedingly tiring. But my new book has been a suc- 
cess and that is a comfort. It is extraordinary the letters I receive 
from strangers all kinds of people. I have certainly been most 
fortunate as a writer. It is strange to remember buying a copy 
of The Native Companion on Lambton Quay and standing un- 
der a lamppost with darling Leslie to see if my story had been 

The more I see of life the more certain I feel that it's the people 
who live remote from cities who inherit the earth. London, for 
instance, 'is an awful place to live in. Not only is the climate 
abominable but it's a continual chase after distraction. There's no 
peace of mind no harvest to be reaped out of it. And another 
thing is the longer I live the more I turn to New Zealand. I thank 
God I was born in New Zealand. A young country is a real heri- 
tage, though it takes one time to recognise it. But New Zealand 
is in my very bones. What wouldn't I give to have a look at it! 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett March 19, 1922 

Oh, I am so longing to get over this last crisis and begin to climb 
the hill so that by the time you come I shall not be such a }ob- 
in-the-ashes. Manoukhin says in eight days now the worst will be 
over. It's such a queer feeling. One burns with heat in one's hands 
and feet and bones. Then suddenly you are racked with neuritis, 
but such neuritis that you can't lift your arm. Then one's head be- 

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Letters 7922 

gins to pound. It's the moment when if I were a proper martyr 
I should begin to have that awful smile that martyrs in the flames 
put on when they begin to sizzle ! 

But no matter, it will pass. . . . 

It is real spring here, really come. Little leaves are out. The 
air is like silk. But above all, beyond all there is a kind of fleeting 
beauty on the faces of everybody, a timid look, the look of some- 
one who bends over a new baby. This is so beautiful, that it fills 
one with awe. The fat old taximan has it and the fisherman on 
the Pont d' Alma that I passed yesterday and the young lady at 
the office with her scent and her violet cachou and her shoes like 
beetles all all are the same. For this alone one is thankful to 
have lived on the earth. My canaries opposite are, of course, in a 
perfect fever. They sing, flutter, sing and make love. Even the 
old clock that strikes over the roofs says one two no longer, but 
drowsily, gently says Spring Spring. . . . 

Yes, paint the Luxembourg Gardens! Do paint a new tree, a 
just-come-out chestnut wouldn't that be good to paint ? When 
the leaves are still stiff they look as though they had sprung out of 
the buds. Chestnut trees are marvellous. But so are limes and 
acacias and umbrella pines. I can't say I like firs awfully, though. 
If you had lived among them as we did in Switzerland you would 
have found them stodgy. 

To Mrs. Oliver Onions March 24, 7922 

What a letter you have sent me! If I could hope one of my stories 
had given you one moment of the happiness you have given me I 
would feel less at a loss how to thank you. I have sat here, look- 
ing at the pages, and thinking " So she felt like that about The 
Stranger, she notices Florrie the cat, she understood my poor old 
Ma Parker and Miss Brill. . . ." 

For it's not your praise I value most (though, of course, one 
does like praise) it's the fact that you have so beautifully, so gen- 
erously seen what I was trying to express. It is a joy to write 
stories but nothing like the joy of knowing one has not written 
in vain. I have lived too remote from people for the last four 
years seeing nobody except my husband for months on end 
And that makes one a little bit frightened sometimes lest one has 

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lost touch with life. But a letter like yours is such encouragement 
that the only way I can thank you is by trying to write better. . . . 
You say scarcely anything about the big black holes in my book 
(like the servant's afternoon out). But I know they are there. I 
must mend them next time. 

How glad I am that you did not listen to the person who said 
you had " much better not." One does not expect such letters 
how could one few people are rich enough to be able to afford 
to give such presents. 

To the Countess Russell March 24, 7922 

I have been on the point of writing to you for days. And now 
merciful Powers ! it's winter again with real live snow and I've 
not been out of this hotel once since I arrived in Paris eight weeks 
ago except to go to the clinic and back. Oh to be on grass-feed 
again after all this hay and dry food. I've read Michelet, Madame 
d'Epinay and Remy de Gourmont (exasperating old stupid as 
often as not) and I cling to Shakespeare. But even Shakespeare 
. . . It's awful. However, the Russian promises that after this 
week I really begin to mend, so I have no right to make moan. 

But cities are the very devil, Elizabeth, if one is embalmed 
in them. And here's this post card of the Chalet Soleil in summer 
in all its ravishing loveliness, with two perfect guardian angels, 
large, benign, frilly ones, in full leaf, behind it. I think they are 
oaks. I cherish, embedded in Twelfth Night, a sprig of mignonette 
from the bush that ran wild in its second generation by the front 
door. And do you remember smelling the geraniums in the late 
afternoon in the hall ? It seemed just the time and the place to 
smell those geraniums. I can't even imagine what going back there 
would be like; it would be too great happiness. But I shall re- 
member that day for ever. 

To Richard Murry March 29, 7922 

Yes, I too was very interested in S.'s review, though I didn't 
agree with it all. For instance his quotation from Tolstoy, " There 
are no heroes, only people." I believe there are heroes. And after 
all it was Tolstoy who made the remark who was surely a 

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large part of a hero himself. And I don't believe in the limitations 
of man; I believe in " the heights." I can't help it; I'm forced to. 
It seems to me that very feeling of inevitability that there is in a 
great work of art is a proof a profession of faith on the part 
of the artist that this life is not all. (Of course, I'm not talking 
of personal immortality as we were taught to imagine it.) If I were 
to agree with S. I'd have to believe that the mind is supreme. But 
I don't not by a long long chalk. The mind is only the fine instru- 
ment, it's only the slave of the soul. I do agree that with a great 
many artists one never sees the master, we only know the slave. 
And the slave is so brilliant that he can almost make you forget 
the absence of the other. But one is only really living when one 
acknowledges both or so it seems to me and great art is 
achieved when the relation between these two is perfected. But 
it's all very difficult. 

About religion. Did you mean the " study of life " or Christ's 
religion, " Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden 
and I will give you rest" ?The queer thing is one does not seem 
to contradict the other one follows on the other to me. If I lose 
myself in the study of life and give up self then I am at rest. But 
the more I study the religion of Christ the more I marvel at it. 
It seems almost impertinent to say that. But you understand. . . . 

I wish you read German. Goethe's Conversations with Ecker- 
mann is one of those books which become part of one's life and 
what's more, enrich one's life for ever. Our edition is in two 
volumes. We lie in bed each reading one it would make a 
funny drawing. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett Tuesday 

April 4, 7922 

I'm interested in what you say of Wyndham L. I've heard so 
very much about him from Anne Rice and Violet Schiff. Yes, I ad- 
mire his line tremendously. It's beautifully obedient to his wishes. 
But it's queer I feel that as an artist in spite of his passions and his 
views and all that he lacks a real centre. I'll tell you what I mean. 
It sounds personal but we can't help that, we can only speak of 
what we have learnt. It seems to me that what one aims at is to 
work with one's mind and one's soul together. By soul I mean 

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that "thing" that makes the mind really important. I always 
picture it like this. My mind is a very complicated, capable instru- 
ment. But the interior is dark. It can work in the dark and throw 
off all kinds of things. But behind that instrument like a very 
steady gentle light is the soul. And it's only when the soul ir- 
radiates the mind that what one does matters. . . . What I aim 
at is that state of mind when I feel my soul and my mind are one. 
It's awfully, terribly difficult to get at. Only solitude will do it for 
me. But I feel Wyndham Lewis would be inclined to call the soul 
tiddley-om-pom. It's a mystery, anyway. One aims at perfection 
knows one will never achieve it and goes on aiming as though 
one knew the exact contrary. 

By the way, do you know Marquet's work well ? I have a book 
of reproductions I will show you. He's not a very great painter 
but he's most awfully good sometimes. What a bore ! As I write 
about him he suddenly seems very small beer. And the repro- 
duction of a picture by le Nain (in the Louvre), Re pas de Pay sans, 
which is four-pinned on my wall is miles better than all Mar- 
quet's kind of thing. 

April 9, 1922 

Are you coming on the i8th? I went out to-day, Miss, and 
bought myself a sweet-pretty-hat-it-was-indeed, and walked away 
in it carrying my dead one in a paper bag. Which is to say: 

That this reaction seems to be nearly over. I do feel much bet- 
ter. Manoukhin is very pleased was yesterday. 

Oh, Brett, I can't say what it's like! I still don't dare to give my- 
self up to believing all is going to be quite well. But all the 
same. . . . 

The following letter needs a note of explanation. The part in italics was 
written by J. M. Murry. It was, in fact, the beginning of an ordinary 
polite social letter to the wife of a French friend. He left it unfinished on 
his writing table and went out. When he returned he found it completed 
for him. 


Letters 7922 

Victoria-Palace Hotel 
rue Blaise-Desgoffe, 
Paris 6me 
le ii avril 7922 

Chere Madame, 

Je vous remercie de votre lettre. Je regrette beaucoup de ne pas 
avoir eu le plaisir de voir V. ; mais j'espere que je serai encore a 
Paris quand il revient du Midi, et quil sera tout a fait retabli par 
le beau soleiL J'ai un si bon souvenir de ma soiree chez vous, 
Madame, que 1'idee meme (Tune autre me donne un rouge vif 
aux genoux. Vous souvenez-vous du moment quand vous avez 
verse sur mon pantalon gris-perle la petite tasse de chocolat et ma 
reponse en vous frappant (fa$on anglais) avec ma porte-plume ? 
" Helas mon passe ! Ou est-il passe ? " comme disait votre soidisant 

Aver un de mes fameux baisers sur la joue, 
Croyez-moi chere Madame, 

Votre Boule-Dogue le plus fidele, 

John Middleton Murry. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett Easter 

April 77, 7922 

Brett, how ever dare you breathe the idea of scrubbing. If you 
ever take a scrub brush in your hand I hope it will sting you and 
run after you like a beetle. Don't work any more than you can 
possibly help! It's cheaper for you to employ slaves for those jobs. 
I hope your servant is a good creature and will really look after 
you. I wish I knew more about your house and its fixings but it's 
tiring to write such things. You'll tell me when you come over. 
I'm sure we shall be in Paris until the middle of June, for once 
Manoukhin is over, I must get my teeth seen to before we go off 
again. Then we think of making for Austria or Bavaria and per- 
haps our old love, Bandol for the winter. That's what we want to 
do. I foresee I shall have to pick up a young maid in Bavaria. I 
can't do without somebody, not a Mountain, but a maid. Who 
takes one's gloves to be cleaned. Looks after one's clothes, keeps 
them brushed and so on. And then there's one's hair and all that. 

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It takes such a terrific time to keep everything going. There is an 
endless succession of small jobs. And then one wants little things 
bought, new sachets and toothpaste. All those things to keep re- 
newed. I can't keep up with it, not if I was as strong as ever. 
There's too much to write and too much to read and to talk 
about. I can't for the life of me understand how women manage. 
It's easier for men because of the way they dress and so on. Also 
they aren't dependent on small things like we are. No, a little nice 
Bertha or Augusta is my ambition. 

By the way, I have discovered something interesting about the 
Russian colony in Paris. I mean Manoukhin and his friends. They 
are intensely religious. Before the revolution they were all scep- 
tics, as far from religion as the English intelligentsia. But now that 
is changed. They go to Church perpetually, kneel on the cold 
stones, believe really in religion. This is very strange. Last Good 
Friday at the clinic Manoukhin was late and his partner, Donat, 
a handsome white-bearded man with a stiff leg, talked to us about 
it. They have become mystics, said he. Mystic ! that strange word 
is always touching the fringes of and running away from . . . 

Forgive this letter. All is scraps and pieces. I am shamefully tired 
and only fit for business communications. I try to whip myself up 
but it's no good. I've a new story coming out in the Nation called 
Honeymoon. Read it if you have the time, will you? I'd like to 
feel you had seen it. 

To the Countess Russell April 26, 7922 

I feel I have spent years and years at this hotel. I have eaten 
hundreds of wings of hotel chickens, and only God knows how 
many little gritty trays with half cold coffee pots on them have 
whisked into my room and out again. It doesn't matter. Really, 
one arrives at a rather blissful state of defiance after a time, when 
nothing matters and one almost seems to glory in everything. 
It rains every day. The hotel window sills have sprouted into very 
fat self-satisfied daisies and pitiful pansies. Extraordinary China- 
men flit past one on the stairs followed by porters bearing their 
boxes, which are like large corks; the lift groans for ever. But it's 
all wonderful all works of the Lord and marvellous in His 
sight. John and I went for a drive in the Bois the other day. Eliza- 

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beth, it was divine. That new green, that grass; and there were 
cherry trees in flower masses of adorable things. 

Are you working? I won't ask you what you are reading. Do 
you sometimes get tired of books but terribly tired of them ? 
Away with them all! It being a cold night, lately, John and I lay 
in one bed each with an immense Tomb of Eckermann's Conver- 
sations with Goethe perched on our several chests. And when my 
side of the bed began to shake up and down 

/. : " What in God's name are you laughing at ? " 

K. : " Goethe is so very, very funny! " 

But it hadn't " struck " John. 

To Anne Estelle Rice May i, 7922 

I have just been through that dechirante experience, two lovely 
young creatures from the chemisier with little frocks " pour es- 
sayer seule-ment, Madame." I'm sitting, fringe straight again at 
last, writing to you in the one they forced on me a kind of plum 
grey tout droit, with buttings on the hips and no trimmings at 
all except a large embroidered lobster bien pose sur la ventre!!! 
Shall I ever wear it again ? It's beginning to look extraordinary 
every moment. The little creatures twittering Chic-ehic-chic! 
would have made me buy a casserole for a chapeau with two 
poireaux in the front. That is the worst of living as I do far from 
the female kind. These moments come and I'm lost. 

Yes, I'll be here first week in June for sure. Do come then. 
Otherwise I don't know where I shall be off to. I've got a wander- 
ing fit on. Anywhere, anywhere but England. The idea would be 
to have a small permanent nid in Paris and another in the South 
and then a small car and so on, ma chore. Very nice only one 
thing missing to make it complete. However, I never care much 
about money. I always feel sooner or later it will turn up one 
will find it somewhere, in the crown of one's hat or in the jampot. 

If only it would stop raining large spots of rain as big as 
mushrooms fall every day Paris would be perfect just now. I 
don't see much of it for I have still two weeks of my X-ray " cure " 
to go. But after that I shall really begin to prowl. I can't say much 
about the cure till it's over. I dare not. But I feel very different 
already. I'm so sorry to hear of your servant debacle. If I go to 

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Germany this summer (we've almost settled to go) I mean to 
find a good sober German and keep her attached to me for ever. 
Shall I look out one for you? Germans are the ideal servants, I 
think, and they are so lasting. They don't ladder at once like the 
English kind. I want to get a very nice one with a pincushion in 
the shape of a strawberry pinned on her buste and she will catch 
my ribbons when they run out of my chemises and run them 
in again and be a comfort. That's what one really wants. A Com- 
fort. They ought to be bred specially. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett Saturday 

May i, 7922 

About Joyce Don't read it unless you are going to really worry 
about it. It's no joke. It's fearfully difficult and obscure and one 
needs to have a really vivid memory of the Odyssey and of Eng- 
lish Literature to make it out at all. It is wheels within wheels 
within wheels. Joyce certainly had not one grain of a desire that 
one should read it for the sake of the coarseness, though I confess 
I find many " a ripple of laughter " in it. But that's because (al- 
though I don't approve of what he's done) I do think Marian 
Bloom and Bloom are superbly seen at times. Marian is the com- 
plete complete female. There's no denying it. But one has to re- 
member she's also Penelope, she is also the night and the day, 
she is also an image of the teeming earth, full of seed, rolling round 
and round. And so on and so on. I am very surprised to hear a 
Russian has written a book like this. It's most queer that it's never 
been heard of. But has Kot read Ulysses ? It's not the faintest use 
considering the coarseness except purely critically. 

I am very interested that Koteliansky thinks the German- 
Russian treaty really good. Manoukhin and all the Russians here 
say it means war in the near future. For certain, for certain! It is 
the beginning of Bolshevism all over Europe. The Bolsheviks at 
Genoa are complete cynics. They say anything. They are abso- 
lutely laughing in their beards at the whole affair, and treating 
us as fools even greater than the French. The French at least 
have a sniff of what may happen but we go on saying " Let us all 
be good," and the Russians and Germans burst with malicious 
glee. I was staggered when I heard this. Manoukhin's partner 

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Letters 7922 

here, a very exceptional Frenchman, started the subject yesterday, 
said, Why did not we English immediately join the French and 
take all vestige of power from Germany ? This so disgusted me I 
turned to Manoukhin and felt sure he would agree that it simply 
could not be done. But he agreed absolutely. And they declare, 
the Russians here, we are in for another war and for Bolshevism 
partout. It's a nice prospect, isn't it ? 

I must say I never in my life felt so entangled in politics as I do 
at this moment. I hang on the newspapers. I feel I dare not miss 
a speech. One begins to feel, like Gorky feels, that it's one's duty 
to what remains of civilisation to care for those things and that 
writers who do not are traitors. But it's horrible. It's like jumping 
into a treacle pot. However, perhaps to-morrow one will stop 
reading the papers or caring a fig. 


Tumble down D 

The cat's in the cupboard 

And can't see me. 

I must end this letter. Don't take it for a real letter. It's written 
from bed where I lie with influenza for tumpany. I am sure I'm 
over the worst of it to-day. But I still feel very boiled and put 
through the wringer. You see the weather here is simply beyond 
words. It rains and rains and it's cold and it hails and the wind 
whistles down the corridors. Only frogs and mushrooms, being 
noseless, could refrain from catching things. Influenza puts the 
fear of God into me. The very word has a black plume on its head 
and a tail of coffin sawdust. But I hope to get up and go out next 
week. Don't think I'm discouraged. Not a bit of it. On the con- 
trary, if a pudding head could sing, I would. 

M. comes in every afternoon with a fresh victim to tell me of. 
Everybody has got it, woman at milkshop, woman at library, bread 
woman. Where does all the rain come from ? And the Channel is 
rough every day. When you come in May if I were you I'd fly. So 
simple, no horrid old changing from boats to trains and diving 
into cabins and along gritty station platforms. Flying seems so 
clean, like cutting out one's way with a pair of sharp scissors. 


Letters 1922 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett May 3, 1922 

It's rather an important day for me. I am beginning my long 
serial . . . half of which has to be finished in a month from now. 
And I have also signed away all the rest of my book to be ready 
sans faute by the end of the summer. The serial is very exciting. 
It is 24,000 words, a short novel in fact. I want it to end with a 
simply scrumptious wedding, rose pink tulle frocks for the brides- 
maids, favours on the horses' heads, that marvellous moment at 
the church when everyone is waiting, the servants in a pew to 
themselves. The Cook's hat! But all, all divinely beautiful if I can 
do it ... gay, but with that feeling that " beauty vanishes beauty 
passes, Though rare, rare it be. . . ." 

To Hugh Jones May 5, 7922 

My dear little Hugh, 

First I must beg your pardon for not having thanked you for 
that lovely post card you painted for me. But I wanted to run out 
and buy you a little present to pop in the letter and I have not 
been able to yet, for I have been ill, too. But I won't forget. The 
very first time I go out I will drive to a shop that sells presents. 

How very nicely you painted that bee-hive. I have always wanted 
to live in a bee-hive, so long as the bees were not there. With a 
little window and a chimney it would make a dear little house. 
I once read a story about a little girl who lived in one with her 
Grandma, and her Grandma's name was old Mrs. Gooseberry. 
What a funny name! 

Mr. Murry thinks you write very well. He liked the " R " best. 
He said it looked as if it was going for a walk. Which letter do 
you like making best ? " Q " is nice because of its curly tail. 

I have pinned the post card on the wall so that everybody can 
see it. I hope you are nearly well again. 

With much love from 

"Mrs. Murry." 


Letters 1922 

To Richard Murry Sunday. Paree. 

May 23, 7922 

But seriously isn't it almost frightening the difference fine 
weather can make ? I wish Einstein could find some way of shoot- 
ing a giant safety-pin at the sun and keeping it there. It has been 
tremendously hot in Paris. Like an oven. Jack and I gave up writ- 
ing altogether. We were overcome and could do nothing but fan 
ourselves, he with a volume of Anthony Trollope (very cool) and 
me with my black penny paper one. The strawberries and cherries 
came out in swarms very big cherries and little wild strawbugs. 
Finally we found a spot in the Louvre among the sculpture which 
was cool as a grotto. Jack had an idea of making himself a neat 
toga, taking the Nation for a parchment roll and standing be- 
calmed upon a Roman pedestal until the weather changed. There 
are glorious things in that first room in the Louvre. Greek statues 
portions of the Parthenon Frieze, a head of Alexander, won- 
derful draped female figures. Greek drapery is very strange. One 
looks at it the lines seem to be dead straight and yet there is 
movement a kind of suppleness and though there is no sug- 
gestion of the body beneath one is conscious of it as a living, breath- 
ing thing. How on earth is that done ? And they seemed to have 
been able to draw a line with a chisel as if it were a pencil. One 
line and there is an arm or a nose perfect. The Romans are 
deaders compared to them. We had a long stare at the Venus de 
Milo, too. One can't get away from the fact she is marvellously 
beautiful. All the little people in straw hats buzz softly round 
her. Such a comfort to see something they know. " Our Maud 
has ever such a fine photograph of her over the piano." But " she 
doesn't care." 

About Rubens. I never can forget his paintings in Antwerp. 
They seemed to me far more brilliant than the London ones I 
mean impressive. He must have enjoyed himself no end a do- 
ing of them. But I confess I like his small paintings best. One gets 
really too much for one's money in the big ones There's rather 
a fat woman wading in a stream in the National Gallery Quite 
a small one. It's very good isn't it ? 

I shall have no time to look at pictures here till we get back 
from Switzerland. It's terrible how Jack and I seem to get 

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engaged. We are pursued by dinners and lunches and telephone 
bells and dentists. Oh, Richard, do you FEAR the dentist ? He re- 
duces me to a real worm. Once I am established in that green plush 
chair with my heels higher almost than my head all else fades. 
What a fiendish business it is ! One day I shall write a story that you 
will have to tie up your face to read. I shall call it Killing the Nerve. 
Since I last wrote to you a great deal seems to have happened. 
But that is the effect of living in a city. I long to get away and to 
work. We are spending June and July at a hotel about 750 feet 
below Montana. It is a very simple place and isolated, standing 
in one of those forest clearings. There are big grassy slopes almost 
like lawns between the clumps of trees and by the time we get 
there the flowers will all be out as they were last year. Paris is a fine 
city but one can't get hold of any big piece of work here; the 
day splits up into pieces and people play the piano below one's 
window or sing even if one sits with the door locked and the out- 
side world put away. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett Hotel d'Angleterre 

Valais, Suisse 
June 5, 7922 

We had an awful journey. The station was crammed with a 
seething mob. No porters people carrying their luggage. No 
couchettes after all only a packed ist-class carriage, coated in 
grime. It was Whitsun, of course. . . . I've never taken Whitsun 
seriously before, but now I know better. Poor dear M. left things 
in the rack, gave a 500 note instead of a 50, lost the registered lug- 
gage tickets. . . . When we reached Sierre, and that lovely clean 
hotel, smelling of roses and lime blossom, we both fell fast asleep 
on a garden bench while waiting for lunch. Then at Randogne, 
after shinning up a hill to reach the little cart, a big black cloud 
saw us far off, tore across and we'd scarcely started when down 
came the cold mountain rain. Big drops that clashed on one like 
pennies. It poured in sheets and torrents. We hadn't even a rug. 
The road, which has only just been dug out and is like a river-bed, 
became a river, and for the most of the time we seemed to drive 
on two wheels. But it was heavenly, it didn't matter. It was so 

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marvellously fresh and cool after Paris. A huge dog plunged after 
our cart and leapt into all the streams a dog as big as a big sofa. 
Its name was Lulu. When we arrived, sleek as cats with the wet, 
a little old grey woman ran out to meet us. There wasn't another 
soul to be seen. All was empty, chill and strange. She took us into 
two very plain bare rooms, smelling of pitch pine, with big 
bunches of wild flowers on the tables, with no mirrors, little wash- 
basins like tea basins, no armchairs, no nuffin. And she explained 
she had no servant even. There was only herself and her old sister 
who would look after us. I had such fever, by this time, that it all 
seemed like a dream. When the old 'un had gone J. looked very 
sad. Oh, how I pitied him! I saw he had the awful foreboding 
that we must move on again. But I had the feeling that perhaps 
we had been living too softly lately. It was perhaps time to shed 
all those hot-water taps and horrid false luxuries. So I said it re- 
minded me of the kind of place Tchekhov would stay at in the 
country in Russia! This comforted M. so much that the very walls 
seemed to expand. And after we had ##packed and eaten eggs 
from the hen, not the shop, M. got into a pair of old canvas shoes 
and a cricket-shirt. 

The air is so wonderful. It's not really hot here except in the 
sun: There just a breeze a freshet that blows from across the 
valley. It's all silky and springlike. The grasshoppers ring their 
little tambourines all day and all night, too. The view is so mar- 
vellous that you must see it to believe it. And behind this hotel 
that are immense lawns dotted with trees; it's like a huge, natural 
park. We sat there yesterday watching the herds a few bright 
sheep, an old woman with her goat, a young girl, far away with 
some black ones. When the beasts were being driven home at 
milking time they began to play. I have never seen a more beauti- 
ful sight. They are so joyful to be out again and in the green field 
that great cows lowed softly for delight and skipped and jumped 
and tilted at each other and little sheep flew along like rocking 
horses and danced and gambolled. The slender girls with mush- 
room white handkerchiefs on their heads ran after them. But 
they caught the infection and began to laugh and sing, too. It was 
like the beginning of the world again. 

Cities are cursed places. When I have my little house in the 
South. I'll never go near them and I shall lure you away. I long 

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for you to be here next month. The hotel will still be empty. But 
that's nice. It is so still. As one crosses the hall it echoes. The old 
woman has very kind eyes. She is simple and gentle. She keeps 
promising me that I will get better here, and she is determined 
to make me drink all kinds of teas made of fresh strawberry 
leaves and hay and pine needles. I suppose I shall drink them 
Bless her heart! 

June 9, 7922 

Summer has deserted us, too. It's cool and we are up in the 
clouds all day. Huge white woolly fellows lie in the valley. There is 
nothing to be seen from the windows but a thick, soft whiteness. 
It's beautiful in its way. The sound of water is beautiful flowing 
through it and the shake of the cows' bells. 

Yes, I know Utrillo's work from reproductions; M. has seen it. 
It's very sensitive and delicate. I'd like to see some originals. What 
a horrible fate he should be mad. Tragedy treads on the heels 
of those young French painters. Look at young Modigliani he 
had only just begun to find himself when he committed suicide. 
I think it's partly that cafe life; it's a curse as well as a blessing. I 
sat opposite a youthful poet in the filthy atmosphere of the L'Uni- 
vers and he was hawking and spitting the whole evening. Finally 
after a glance at his mouchoir he said, " Encore du sang. II me faut 
24 mouchoirs par jour. C'est le desespoir de ma femme! " Another 
young poet, Jean Pellerin, (awfully good) died, (but not during 
the evening!) making much the same joke. 

Talking about " illness," my dear. I feel rather grim when I 
read of your wish to hustle me and make me run! Did it really 
seem to you people were always telling me to sit down ? To me 
that was the fiercest running and the most tremendous hustling 
and I couldn't keep it up for any length of time. In fact, as soon as 
I got here I wrote to L. M. and asked her to come back and look 
after things as otherwise I'd never be able to get any work done. 
All my energy went in " hustling." So she's coming back to me in 
a strictly professional capacity to look after us both. M. needs 
someone very badly, too, and I can't face the thought of a stranger. 
No, I'm afraid it's not only a question of weak muscles; I wish 
it were! You ask Manouhkin! Don't let's discuss my health. 

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I must get up and start work. There's a huge beetle creeping 
over my floor so cautiously, so intently. He has thought it all 
out. One gets fond of insects here; they seem to be in their place 
and it's a pleasure to know they are there. M. was saying the other 
night how necessary snakes are in creation. Without snakes there 
would be a tremendous gap, a poverty. Snakes complete the pic- 
ture. Why ? I wonder. I feel it, too. I read an account of unpacking 
large deadly poisonous vipers at the Zoo the other day. They were 
lifted out of the boxes with large wooden tongs. Can't you see 
those tongs! like giant asparagus tongs. And think of one's feel- 
ings if they suddenly crossed like sugar tongs too Brrrr! 

June 9, 7922 

The weather is / ^perfect to be very polite to it. It's warm, and 
then it's chill. Not so much windy as draughty. But where is per- 
fect weather? Palm Beach, California, they say. But if I arrived, 
there'd be a snow-storm. L. M. arrived yesterday. The relief to have 
her is so great that I'll never never say another word of impatience. 
I don't deserve such a wife. All is in order already. M. and I sigh 
and turn up our eyes. M., in fact, to pay her a little compliment, 
has wrenched the ligaments of his foot and can't walk. He is tied 
to a chaise longue! Isn't it awful bad luck? But what marvellously 
good luck that L. M. was here and produced bandages and vinegar 
and all that was needful. The Ancient Sisters, of course, hovered 
over him, too, and made him cover his foot in a poultice of parsley 
last night. He went to bed looking like a young leg of lamb. 

I wish you had been here this afternoon. They brought us in 
branches of cherries, all dark and glistening among the long 
slender leaves. 

To William Gerhardi June 14, 7922 

Your handwriting on the envelope made me feel a guilty thing; 
I hardly dared open the letter. And when I did there wasn't a 
single reproach in it. That was very kind of you very generous. 

The truth is I have been on the pen point of writing to you for 
weeks and weeks but always Paris horrid Paris snatched my 

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pen away. And during the latter part of the time I spent nearly 
every afternoon in a tight, bony dentist's chair while a dreadfully 
callous American gentleman with an electric light on his fore- 
head explored the root canals or angled with devilish patience for 
the lurking nerves. Sometimes, at black moments, I think that 
when I die I shall go to the DENTIST'S. 

I am glad you did not come to Paris after all; we should not 
have been able to talk. It's too distracting. It is like your " twelve 
complete teas, ices and all " all the time. One is either eating 
them or watching other people eat them, or seeing them swept 
away or hearing the jingle of their approach, or waiting for them, 
or paying for them, or trying to get out of them (hardest of all). 
Here it is ever so much better. If, on your walk to-day, you pass one 
of those signs with a blameless hand pointing to the Hotel d'Ang- 
leterre, please follow. The cherries are just ripe; they are cutting 
the hay. But these are English delights, too. Our speciality is the 
forest a deux pas, threaded with little green paths and hoarse 
quick little streams. If it happens to be sunset, too, I could shew 
you something very strange. Behind this Hotel there is a big 
natural lawn, a wide stretch of green turf. When the herds that 
are being driven home in the evening come to it they go wild with 
delight. Staid, black cows begin to dance, to leap, to cut capers. 
Quiet, refined little sheep who look as though buttercups would 
not melt in their mouths suddenly begin to jump, to spin round, 
to bound off like rocking-horses. The goats are complete Russian 
Ballet Dancers; they are almost too brilliant. But the cows are 
the most surprising and the most naive. You will admit that cows 
don't look like born dancers, do they ? And yet my cows are light 
as feathers, bubbling over with fun. Please tell dear little Miss 
Helsingfors that it's quite true they do jump over the moon. I 
have seen them do it or very nearly. Ah, Mr. Gerhardi, I love 
the country ! To lie on the grass again and smell the clover ! Even 
to feel a little ant creep up one's sleeve was a kind of comfort . . . 
after one had shaken it down again. . . . 

I am in the middle of a very long story * written in the same 
style horrible expression! as The Daughters of the Late Colo- 
nel. I enjoy writing it so much that even after I am asleep, I go on. 
The scene is the South of France in early spring. There is a real 

1 The Doves' Nest. 

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love story in it, too, and rain, buds, frogs, a thunderstorm, pink 
spotted Chinese dragons. There is no happiness greater than this 
leading a double life. But it's mysterious, too. How is it possible 
to be here in this remote, deserted hotel and at the same time to 
be leaning out of the window of the Villa Martin listening to the 
rain thrumming so gently on the leaves and smelling the night- 
scented stocks with Milly ? (I shall be awfully disappointed if you 
don't like Milly.) 

Have you read Bunin's stories ? They are published in English 
by the Hogarth Press. The Gentleman from San Francisco is good, 
but I don't care much for the others. He tries too hard. He's too 
determined you shall not miss the cucumbers and the dyed whisk- 
ers. And the last story called Son I can't for the life of me under- 
stand. I met Bunin in Paris and because he had known Tchekhov 
I wanted to talk of him. But alas ! Bunin said " Tchekhov ? Ah 
Ah Oui, j'ai connu Tchekhov. Mais il y a longtemps, long- 
temps." And then a pause. And then, graciously, " II a ecrit des 
belles choses." And that was the end of Tchekhov. " Vous avez lu 
mon dernier. ... ? " 

I shall be here until the end of August. After that I go back to 
Paris for two months and then I want to go to Italy to a little 
place called Arco near the Lake of Garda for the winter. 

When you are in the mood please write to me and tell me what 
you are writing. I am sorry you did not like The Fly and glad 
you told me. I hated writing it. Yes, I remember the story about 
the little boy and the buzzing insects. His father comes home from 
the town and finds him sitting up to the table cutting Kings and 
Queens out of a pack of playing cards. I can always see him. 

Here comes my ancient landlady with a cup of tea made from 
Iceland moss and hay flowers. She is determined to make a new 
man of me good old soul and equally convinced that nothing 
but herb tea will do it. My insides must be in a state of the most 
profound astonishment. 

Goodbye for now. All success every good wish for your book. 

And don't be grateful to me, please; I've done nothing. 

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To the Hon. Dorothy Brett June 22, 7922 

In the Forest 

I'm sitting writing to you in a glade under a pine tree. There 
are quantities of little squat yellow bushes of a kind of broom 
everywhere that give a sweet scent and are the humming houses 
of bees. M. and I have been here all day. Now he is climbing up to 
Montana to buy a large bottle of castor oil! It's sad to feel so com- 
pletely a creature of air as one does in this forest and yet to find 
one's insides have ordered a general strike. Such is our awful 
condition. It's divinely lovely out here, and warm again with 
just a light breeze singing in the trees. A little blue sky with puffs 
of white cloud over the mountains. 

Last evening as I sat on a stump watching the herds pass I felt 
you may take furiously to cows and paint nothing but cows on 
green lawns with long shadows like triangles from this-shaped 
tree fa drawing] and end with a very grave cow-complex. I have 
one. Up till now I have always more than resisted the charm of 
cows but now it's swep' over me all of a heap, Miss. Insects, too, 
even though my legs are both bitten off at the knees by large and 
solemn flies. Do you mind turning brown, too ? Or peeling ? I had 
better warn you. These things are bound to happen. And I am 
hatefully unsociable. Don't forget that. It's on the cards you may 
turn frightfully against me here and brain me with your Toby. 1 
You see, every day I work till 12.30 and again from 4.30 until sup- 
per every blessed day, Sunday included. Can you bear that? 
In the mornings we may meet as I go abroad and sit under the 
trees. But I shall regard you as invisible and you will haughtily 
cut me. In this way, when we are free, we feel free and not guilty. 
We can play and look at beetles in peace. I must get the ancient 
sisters to simplify their ideas of picnics though. To-day they 
brought M. boiled beef and trimmings in a saucepan. It's awful 
to open such a vessel under the very Eye of our Maker. I like eggs, 
butter-bread and milk at picnics. But M. disagrees. He regards such 
tastes as female flippancy. 

Oh, my story won't go fast enough. It's got stuck. I must have 
it finished and done with in 10 days' time. Never shall I commit 
myself again to a stated time. It's hellish. 

1 The name of an ear-trumpet. 

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To Arnold Gibbons June 24, 7922 

Very many thanks for your letter and for letting me see the five 
stories. I'd like immensely to talk about them a little. But you'll 
take what I say as workshop talk will you ? as from one 
writer to another. Otherwise one feels embarrassed. 

I think the idea in all the five stories is awfully good. And you 
start each story at just the right moment and finish it at the right 
moment, too. Each is a whole, complete in itself. But I don't feel 
any of them quite come off. Why ? It's as though you used more 
words than were necessary. There's a kind of diffuseness of ex- 
pression which isn't natural to the English way of thinking. I 
imagine your great admiration for Tchekhov has liberated you, 
but you have absorbed more of him than you are aware of and he's 
got in the way of your individual expression for the time being. 
It's very queer; passages real like a translation! It's as though you 
were in his shadow and the result is you are a little bit blurred, 
a bit vague. Your real inmost self (forgive the big words but one 
does mean them) doesn't seem to be speaking except occasionally. 
It's almost as though you were hiding and hadn't the shall I call 
it courage ? of your own fine sensitiveness. When you do get 
free of Tchekhov plus all you have learnt of him you ought to 
write awfully good stories. Pleasure gives one an idea of how good. 
There you seem to me nearly in your own stride. It is convincing. 
One believes in that little cat and its meat for breakfast; one sees 
your old chap wiping the glass case with his handkerchief; and 
one sees his audience turn and then turn back to him. I think this 
story is much the best of the five. 

To return to your Russianization for a moment. It seems to me 
that when Russians think they go through a different process from 
what we do. As far as we can gather they arrive at feeling by a 
process of ... spiritual recapitulation. I don't think we do. What 
I imagine is we have less words but they are more vital; we need 
less. So though one can accept this recapitulating process from Rus- 
sian writers it sounds strange to me coming from your pen. For 
instance, in Going Home you get in five lines: "enthusiasm, 
doubtful, mistrust, acute terror, anxious joy, sadness, pain, final 
dissolution, filth and degradation." Or (p. 2) " the unhappiness, 
the misery and cruelty, all the squalor and abnormal spiritual 

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anguish." Again, last page but one of The Sister, " futility, monot- 
ony, suffocated, pettiness, sordidness, vulgar minuteness." 

When one writes like that in English it's as though the nerve 
of the feeling were gone. Do you know what I mean ? 

I realise it's all very well to say these things but how are we 
going to convey these overtones, half tones, quarter tones, these 
hesitations, doubts, beginnings, if we go at them directly? It is 
most devilishly difficult, but I do believe that there is a way of 
doing it and that's by trying to get as near to the exact truth as 
possible. It's the truth we are after, no less (which, by the way, 
makes it so exciting). 

To Sir Harold Beauchamp June 26, 1922 

I hope you are enjoying a different hand of weather from our 
mountain variety. It is as cold as late autumn, very, very damp, 
with heavy mists. We are wearing full winter outfit and going to 
bed under our travelling rugs, with large size Swiss hot water 
tins. Summer seems to have spent its fortune at one fell swoop. 
You know that type of wind, like a draught, which plays on the 
back of one's neck and seems to come from all quarters equally; 
it is in its element at present. However, being the month of June, 
we can still hope that any day may see a complete change. 

I envy you your voyage in the " Aquitania." It must be a most 
interesting experience to travel in one of those huge liners very 
different to the good old " Star of New Zealand." Still, I have a 
very soft corner in my heart for the " Niwaru," for example. Do 
you remember how Mother used to enjoy the triangular shaped 
pieces of toast for tea ? Awfully good they were, too, on a cold after- 
noon in the vicinity of The Horn. How I should love to make a long 
sea voyage again one of these days. But I always connect such ex- 
periences with a vision of Mother in her little seal skin jacket with 
the collar turned up. I can see her as I write. 

It is a great pity J. is so wicked about her food. If she lived 
abroad for a time, she would realise that it is only in England 
that very thin ladies are the fashion (as Grandma B. would have 
said). I have grown foreign enough to confess that I infinitely pre- 
fer the French taste in such matters. One sees beautiful women in 

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Paris and all their beauty is crowned by their look of radiant 
health; lovely arms and throats and shoulders not bony ones. 
When I burst out of all my skirts in Paris the little dressmaker 
who had to make 'em bigger rolled up her eyes and said, " Dieu 
soit loue." That's a much better spirit than the English one. 

To S. S. Koteliansfy Tuesday 

Hotel Chateau Belle Vue 
Sierre (Valais) 
July 4, 7922 

I want to write to you before I begin work. I have been thinking 
of you ever since I woke up, thinking how much I should like to 
talk to you. To-day for instance, is such an opportunity. Brett is 
staying here for a week or so but she has gone up the mountains 
for the day. And I am the only guest left in this big, empty- dim 
hotel. It is awfully nice here, my dearest friend. It is full summer. 
The grasshoppers ring their tiny tambourines, and down below 
the gardener is raking the paths. Swallows are flying; two men 
with scythes over their shoulders are wading through the field 
opposite, lifting their knees as though they waded through a river. 
But above all it is solitary. 

I have been feeling lately a horrible feeling of indifference; a 
very bad feeling. Neither hot nor cold; lukewarm, as the psalmist 
says. It is better to be dead than to feel like that; in fact it is a kind 
of death. And one is ashamed as a corpse would be ashamed, to be 
unburied. I thought I would never write again. But now that I 
have come here and am living alone all seems so full of meaning 
again, and one longs only to be allowed to understand. 

Have you read Lawrence's new book? I should like to very 
much. He is the only writer living whom I really profoundly 
care for. It seems to me whatever he writes, no matter how much 
one may " disagree," is important. And after all even what one ob- 
jects to is a sign of life in him. He is a living man. There has been 
published lately an extremely bad collection of short stories 
Georgian Short Stories. And The Shadow in the Rose Garden 
by Lawrence is among them. This story is perhaps one of the 
weakest he ever wrote. But it is so utterly different from all the 

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rest that one reads it with joy. When he mentions gooseberries 
these are real red, ripe gooseberries that the gardener is rolling on 
a tray. When he bites into an apple it is a sharp, sweet, fresh apple 
from the growing tree. Why has one this longing that people 
shall be rooted in life ? Nearly all people swing in with the tide 
and out with the tide again like a heavy seaweed. And they 
seem to take a kind of pride in denying life. But why? I can- 
not understand. 

But writing letters is unsatisfactory. If you were here we would 
talk or be silent, it would not matter which. We shall meet one 
day, perhaps soon, perhaps some years must pass first. Who shall 
say? To know you are there is enough. (This is not really con- 

To Sir Harold Eeauchamp July 9, 7922 

I found mountain conditions plus cold, mist and rain too much 
for me once more. And shifted to this small town, which is in the 
valley. Here I shall stay until I return to Paris. J. has, however, re- 
mained up aloft and only comes down for week-ends. This is an 
excellent really first-rate hotel the pleasantest I have ever known. 
It is simple but extremely comfortable and the food is almost too 
good to be true. Sierre is only 1,700 feet high, which makes a great 
difference to my heart, too. If one had no work to do it would 
be a dull little place, for apart from the hotel there is nothing 
much to be said for it. But another great point in its favour is 
there is a farm attached, where the faithful old Swiss gardeners 
allow me to explore. This is all complete with cows, turkeys, 
poultry and a big rambling orchard that smells already of apples. 
The damson trees are the first I remember seeing since those at 
Karori. After all, a country life is hard to beat. It has more solid 
joys than any other that I can imagine. I thank heaven and my 
papa that I was not born a town child. 

Yes, indeed, I too wish that I were taking a trip home with you. 
It would be a marvellous experience. The very look of a " steamer 
trunk" rouses the old war horse in me. I feel inclined to paw 
the ground and smell the briny. But perhaps in ten year's time, if 
I manage to keep above ground, I may be able to think seriously of 
such a treat. 

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I have just finished a story with a canary for the hero, and al- 
most feel I have lived in a cage and pecked a piece of chickweed 
myself. What a bother! 

To William Gerhardi July 10, 1922 

Many many thanks for your book. I am delighted to have it, and 
I think it looks awfully nice. I've read it again from beginning to 
end. How good it is! (Here, as you don't believe in such a thing 
as modesty, you will say, " Yes, isn't it? ") But I can only agree. 
Don't change, Mr. Gerhardi. Go on writing like that. I mean with 
that freshness and warmth and suppleness, with that warm emo- 
tional tone and not that dreadful glaze of " intellectuality " which 
is like a curse upon so many English writers. . . . And there's 
another thing. You sound so free in your writing. Perhaps that is 
as important as anything. I don't know why so many of our poor 
authors should be in chains, but there it is a dreadful clanking 
sounds through their books, and they never can run away, never 
take a leap, never risk anything. . . In fact, it's high time we took 
up our pens and struck a blow for freedom. To begin with 
What about * * * ? He is a ripe, fat victim. I agree with every 
word you say about him, his smugness is unbearable, his " Oh my 
friends, let us have Adventures ! " is simply the worst possible pre- 
tence. You see the truth is he hasn't a word to say. It is a tremen- 
dous adventure to him if the dog gets into the kitchen and licks 
a saucepan. Perhaps it is the biggest adventure of all to breathe 
" Good Night, dear Lady " as the daughter of the County hands 
him his solid silver bedroom candlestick. All is sham, all is made 
up, all is rooted in vanity. I am ashamed of going to the same 
school with him but there you are. And he's Top Boy, with over 
7,000 a year and America bowing to the earth to him. . . . It's 
very painful. 

But after this long parenthesis let me come back to Futility one 
moment. Shall I tell you what I think you may have to guard 
against? You have a very keen, very delightful sense of humour. 
Just on one or two occasions (par example when you took Nina 
into a corner and slapped her hand to the amusement of the 
others) I think you give it too full a rein. I wonder if you feel 

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what I mean ? To me, that remark trembles towards ... a kind 
of smartness a something too easy to be worth doing. 

I hope one day we shall have a talk about this book. Let me 
once more wish it and you every possible success. 

Now for your photograph. It is kind of you to have sent it to 
me. I am very happy to have it. When I possess a room with a 
mantlepiece again on the mantlepiece you will stand. Judging 
by it you look as though you were very musical. Are you ? 

I am extremely interested to hear of your book on Tchekhov. It's 
just the moment for a book on Tchekhov. I have read, these last 
weeks, Friday Nights, by Edward Garnett, which contains a long 
essay on him. Garnett seems greatly impressed by the importance 
of T.'s scientific training as a doctor, not the /^direct importance 
(I could understand that) but the direct. He quotes as a proof 
The Party and T.'s letter in which he says " the ladies say I am 
quite right in all my symptoms when I describe the confinement." 
But in spite of T.'s letter, that story didn't need a doctor to write it. 
There's not a thing any sensitive writer could not have discovered 
without a medical degree. The truth of that " importance " is far 
more subtle. People on the whole understand Tchekhov very little. 
They persist in looking at him from a certain angle and he's a 
man that won't stand that kind of gaze. One must get round 
him see him, feel him as a whole. By the way, isn't Tolstoy's 
little essay on The Darling a small masterpiece of stupidity ? 

. . . And when you say you don't think T. was really modest. 
Isn't it perhaps that he always felt, very sincerely, that he could 
have done so much more than he did ? He was tormented by time, 
and by the desire to live as well as to write. " Life is given us but 
once.". . . Yet, when he was not working he had a feeling of 
guilt; he felt he ought to be. And I think he very often had that 
feeling a singer has who has sung once and would give almost 
anything for the chance to sing the same song over again Now 
he could sing it. ... But the chance doesn't return. I suppose all 
writers, little and big, feel this, but T. more than most. But I 
must not write about him, I could go on and on. ... 

Yes, the title of your novel is lovely, and from the practical 
standpoint excellent. I see so many pretty little hands stretched 
towards the library shelf. . . . About Love. I don't see how any 
body could avoid buying a copy. But tres serieusement, I am so 

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glad you are at work on it. Do you intend to " adopt a literary 
career " as they say ? Or do you have to make literature your 
mistress ? I hope Bolton is not a permanent address if you dislike 
it so. I was there seventeen years ago. I remember eating a cake 
with pink icing while a dark intense lady told me of her love 
for Haydn Coffin and that she had thirteen photographs of him in 
silver frames in her bedroom. I was very impressed, but perhaps it 
wasn't a typical incident. I meant to tell you of the lovely place 
where I am staying but this letter is too long. The flowers are 
wonderful just now. Don't you love these real summer flowers? 
You should see the dahlias here, big spiky fellows, with buds like 
wax and round white ones and real saffron yellow. The women are 
working in the vines. It's hot and fine with a light valley wind. 
Goodbye. I am so glad we are friends. 

To Arnold Gibbons July 13, 7922 

I am appalled that I expressed myself so clumsily as to make it 
possible for you to use the word " plagiarism." I beg you to forgive 
me; it was far from my meaning. It was absorbed I meant. Per- 
haps you will agree that we all, as writers, to a certain extent, ab- 
sorb each other when we love. (I am presuming that you love 
Tchekhov.) Anatole France would say we eat each other, but per- 
haps nourish is the better word. For instance, Tchekhov's talent 
was nourished by Tolstoy's Death of Ivan Ilyitch. It is very pos- 
sible he never would have written as he did if he had not read that 
story. There is a deep division between the work he did before 
he read it and after. . . . All I felt about your stories was that you 
had not yet made the " gift " you had received from Tchekhov 
your own. You had not yet, finally, made free with it and turned 
it to your own account. My dear colleague, I reproach myself for 
not having made this plainer. . . . 

I'd like, if I may, to discuss the other point in your letter. Let 
me see if I understand you. You mean you can only " care " for 
such things as the little cat, the old man, the note of a bird, in the 
period of reaction against your belief in pain and a life of sacrifice 
and yourself. But as your belief is all-important to you that period 
of reaction means little. Am I right ? Therefore the last of the five 
stories was the only one you really cared about for there you 

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express your very self. ... I mean you are writing with real con- 
viction. Do you know what I feel? To do this successfully you 
will have to do it more /^directly, you will have to leave the stu- 
dent out. Now there is a moment in that story where you succeed. 
It's where the little girl's throat works she weeps she wants 
the apple and is afraid she is not going to have it. (Always re- 
member this is just my personal feeling.) Your student argues, 
explains too much. He ought perhaps to have said not a single 

But I hope you will go on writing. The important thing is to 
write to find yourself in losing yourself. (There is no truth pro- 
founder.) I do not know myself whether this world being what 
it is pain is not absolutely necessary. I do not see how we are 
to come by knowledge and love except through pain. That sounds 
too definite, expressed so baldly if one were talking one would 
make reservations. . . . Believe in pain I must. 

To S. S. Kotdians\y July ij, 7922 

I want to talk to you for hours about Aaron s Rod, for in- 
stance. Have you read it? There are certain things in this new 
book of L.'s that I do not like. But they are not important or 
really part of it. They are trivial, encrusted, they cling to it as 
snails to the underside of a leaf. But apart from them there is the 
leaf, is the tree, firmly planted, deep thrusting, outspreading, grow- 
ing grandly, alive in every twig. It is a living book; it is warm, 
it breathes. And it is written by a living man, with conviction. 
Oh, Koteliansky, what a relief it is to turn away from these little 
pre-digested books written by authors who have nothing to say! 
It is like walking by the sea at high tide eating a crust of bread 
and looking over the water. I am so sick of all this modern seek- 
ing which ends in seeking. See\ by all means, but the text goes on 
" and ye shall find." And although, of course, there can be no 
ultimate finding, there is a kind of finding by the way which is 
enough, is sufficient. But these seekers in the looking glass, these 
half-female, frightened writers-of -to-day You know, they re- 
mind me of the greenfly in roses they are a kind of blight. 

I do not want to be hard. I hope to God I am not unsym- 
pathetic. But it seems to me there comes a time in life when one 

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must realise one is grown up a man. And when it is no longer 
decent to go on probing and probing. Life is so short. The world 
is rich. There are so many adventures possible. Why do we not 
gather our strength together and LIVE? It all comes to much the 
same thing. In youth most of us are, for various reasons, slaves. 
And then, when we are able to throw off our chains, we prefer 
to keep them. Fredom is dangerous, is frightening. 

If only I can be good enough writer to strike a blow for free- 
dom! It is the one axe I want to grind. Be free and you can af- 
ford to give yourself to life! Even to believe in life. 

I do not go all the way with Lawrence. His ideas of sex mean 
nothing to me. But I feel nearer L. than anyone else. All these 
last months I have thought as he does about many things. 

Does this sound nonsense to you ? Laugh at me if you like or 
scold me. But remember what a disadvantage it is having to write 
such things. If we were talking one could say it all in a few words. 
It is so hard not to dress one's ideas up in their Sunday clothes and 
make them look all stiff and shining in a letter. My ideas look 
awful in their best dresses. 

(Now I have made myself a glass of tea. Every time I drop a 
piece of lemon into a glass of tea I say " Koteliansky." Perhaps it is 
a kind of grace.) 

I went for such a lovely drive to-day behind a very intelligent 
horse who listened to every word the driver and I said and heartily 
agreed. One could tell from his ears that he was extremely inter- 
ested in the conversation. They are thinning the vines for the last 
time before harvest. One can almost smell the grapes. And in the 
orchards apples are reddening; it is going to be a wonderful year 
for pears. 

But one could write about the drive for as many pages as there 
are in Ulysses. 

It is late. I must go to bed. Now the train going to Italy has 
flashed past. Now it is silent again except for the old toad who goes 
Xfl-Ka-J#-Ka laying down the law. 

To Sir Harold Beauchamp July 28, 7922 

The days seem to whisk away here so fast that I don't think 
the farmer's wife would be in time to chop off their tails. I spend 

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a large part of them tapping out my new long story or short novel 
on my little Corona. But I have been thinking of you so much, 
dearest, and hoping that your climatic and physical conditions 
are both more settled. I heard from C. that you had been to see my 
good Doctor. I hope he satisfied you and that you did not think 
I had overpraised him. It would be very nice to know from you 
what you thought of him. 

Since I last wrote we have had every variety of weather from 
Winter to Spring. To-day, for instance, began with a cold down- 
pour, gradually changed until it was a damp, tropical morning, 
and now it's a sharp Autumn evening. It's very difficult to adjust 
one's attire to these lightning changes. The only safe recipe is to 
start with flannel next to the skin, and build up or cast off from 
that. What a frightful bother! But judging from the reports in 
the Times, England has turned over a summer leaf again. Long 
may it remain fair! 

There is a remarkable old talker here at present an American, 
aged eighty-eight with his wife and daughter. The daughter 
looks about sixty-five. According to the ancient gentleman, they 
have been on the wing ever since he retired at the age of seventy- 
five, and they intend remaining on the wing for another fifteen 
years or so! He is full of fire still, dresses every night for dinner, 
plays bridge, and loves to start a gossip with, " In the year 1865." 
It's very interesting listening to his memories of early Noo York 
and of American life generally 'way back. I think he mistook me 
for a young person home for the holidays. For he introduced him- 
self with the words, " Boys seem skeerce here. May be you 
wouldn't mind if I tried to entertain you a li'll." When he said 
boys, I thought at first he must be alluding to farm labourers, but 
then memories of American novels " put me right," as they say. 

J. is still in his lofty perch among the mountains. At the week- 
ends, whenever the weather is wet, we play billiards. There is a 
splendid table here and we are both very keen. It's a fascinating 
game. I remember learning to hold a cue at Sir Joseph Ward's, and 
I can see now R.'s super-refinement as if she expected each ball 
to be stamped with a coronet before she would deign to hit it. 

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To Edmund Blunden July 1922 

It is awfully kind of you to have sent me a copy of your lovely 
poem, Old Homes. Many, many thanks. I like especially the verse 

Thence, too, when high wind through the black clouds 

One walks straight into your chill, pale, wet world as one reads. 
... I love the sound of water in poetry. 

How are you, I wonder, and where are you spending the sum- 
mer? It's the moment here when all the dahlias are out, every 
little child is eating a green apple, the vines have been cut down 
for the last time and the grapes are as big as marbles. In fact, this 
whole valley is one great ripening orchard. Heavens! how beauti- 
ful apple trees are ! But you know these things a great deal better 
than I do. 

If H. M. T. is near by give him my love, will you ? 

To J. M. Murry August 7922 

Early Edition. 

I think Amos Barton is awful and there's nothing to say for it. 

In the first place poor George Eliot's Hymn to the Cream Jug 
makes me feel quite queasy (no wonder she harps on biliousness 
and begins her description of a feast: " Should one not be bilious 
there is no pleasanter sight, etc.") ; in the second place, the idea 
of lovely, gentle, fastidious, Madonna-like Mrs. Barton having 
8 children in 9 years by that pock-marked poor " mongrel " (her 
own words) with the blackened stumps for teeth is simply dis- 
gusting! If I thought the poor little pamphlet was designed to put 
in a word in favour of Birth Control I could bear it. But far 
from it. Each chubby chubby with a red little fist and TEN black 
nails (how is that for charm?) rouses a kind of female canni- 
balism in G. E. She gloats over the fat of babies. 

I have always heard Amos Barton was one of her best stories. 
You know, it's very very bad that we haven't sincerer critics. 
Having spread my peacock tail to that extent I had better depart. 

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Not before saying what a truly frightful need England hath of 

Later edition. 

I have just got your L. review and note. . . . About your re- 
view. I think you are absolutely right in every word of it every 
word. I think you occasionally use more words of praise than 
are necessary; it sounds too effusive and will raise suspicion. Shall 
I tone it down a bit on my typewriter, or send it as it is? I'll 
phone you and ask. Oh, I long for a paper this morning!! I have 
been " making up " a paper ever since I read your review. I shall 
start one, too, jolly soon. For three years only. But what years! 

Don't you think it might be a good idea if this week you came 
on Sunday instead of Saturday ? Give us a longer week. That is if 
you are at all presse or inclined to the notion. Otherwise you 
won't mind, will you, if I do a bit of work on Saturday while 
you are in the garden ? 

H'm yes. After my Spartan suggestion has been written, I ta\e 
it bac^ I say instead what I have said about working . . . and 
hope I'll be able to look out of the window and see your summer 
feltie below. Yes, indeed, come Saturday unless you don't want to, 
or think that the female will is determined to drag you here. . . . 

Once The Doves' Nest is finished I shall leave here. But it 
will take a fortnight, not a week. It's too expensive. I must draw 
in my horns for the next six months, somehow. Blow! 

My watch is still a li'll golden angel. And what a big brown 
angel that chest is! With two little windows at the sides and a 
chimney at the top we could almost live in it open the lid 
softly for the milkman and the wild strawberry man. . . . 

To S. S. Koteliansfy August 2, 7922 

I hope you are better. If you need a doctor, Sorapure is a good 
man intelligent and quiet. He does not discuss Lloyd George 
with one, either. This is a great relief. All the other English doc- 
tors that I know have just finished reading The Daily Mail 
by the time they reach me. 

It is a pity that Lawrence is driven so far. I am sure that Western 
Australia will not help. The desire to travel is a great, real tempta- 

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tion. But does it do any good ? It seems to me to correspond to the 
feelings of a sick man who thinks always " if only I can get away 
from here I shall be better." However there is nothing to be 
done. One must go through with it. No one can stop that sick 
man, either, from moving on and on. His craving is stronger than 
he. But Lawrence, I am sure, will get well. 

... I believe one can cure nobody, one can change nobody 
fundamentally. The born slave cannot become a free man. He can 
only become free-er. I have refused to believe that for years, and 
yet I am certain it is true, it is even a law of life. But it is equally 
true that hidden in the slave there are the makings of the free man. 

And these makings are very nice in , very sensitive and 

generous. I love her for them. They make me want to help 
her as much as I can. 

I am content. I prefer to leave our meeting to chance. To know 
you are there is enough. If I knew I was going to die I should 
even ask you definitely to come and see me. For I should hate to 
die without one long, uninterrupted talk with you. But short 
of it it does not greatly matter. 

To Sir Harold Beauchamp August 10, 1922 

I have delayed answering your letter which I was most 
happy to receive because I felt there was a possibility that I 
might be forced, for reasons of health only, to make a little 
change in my plans. I hoped this would not be necessary, but 
it is. To " come straight to the horses " my heart has been 
playing up so badly this last week that I realise it is imperative 
for me to see Doctor Sorapure before I go on with my Paris 
treatment. As I am due to begin this Paris treatment on Septem- 
ber ist, I have decided that my best plan is to come straight to 
London next Tuesday, arriving Wednesday, i6th. Until I have 
had an opinion on the present condition of my heart I am 
really a thoroughly unsatisfactory companion. I could neither 
go about with you, nor add to your enjoyment in any way. And 
to sit with me in the bedroom of a foreign hotel would be ex- 
tremely small beer indeed ! And I could not forgive myself if my 
disquieting symptoms became aggravated in Paris and caused 
you uneasiness. You know what a heart is like! I hope this 

= 487 = 

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trouble is something that can be corrected easily. I feel sure it is. 
But until I know just what it is there is always the feeling I may 
be doing the very thing that will send me on my last journey 
before my work is anything like finished here below! That's 
what I have been feeling all this week. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett August n, 7922 

I can't arrive before Thursday afternoon. No sleeper before 
then. Your clouds like Feather Boas are perfeck! 

This yours is such a very nice letter that it is a good thing 
we shall meet so soon, I feel inclined to come by the perambulator 
and have done with it. 

Why do things need so many nails ? Why can't one use safety 
pins? They are so much quicker and they are deadly Secure. 
Once you have clasped yourself to a safety pin human flesh and 
blood can't separate you. 

(Let us go and see Charlie Chaplin when I come. Shall we? 
On the Fillums, of course, I mean.) 

This place is flaming with Gladioli, too. As for the dahlias 
they are rampant everywhere. The pears which we had for lunch 
are iron pears, with little copper plums and a zinc greengage 
or two. 

L. M., smelling the luggage from afar, is in her element. She 
is hung round with tickets already and almost whistles and 
shunts when she brings me my tisane. I am moving already 
myself, the writing table is gliding by, and I feel inclined to 
wave to people in the Garden. 

Elizabeth came yesterday with one of the Ladies Fair. I must 
say she had ravishing deep, deep grey eyes. She seemed, too, 
divinely happy. She is happy. She has a perfect love, a man. 
They have loved each other for eight years and it is still as radiant, 
as exquisite as ever. I must say it is nice to gaze on people who 
are in love. M. has taken up golf. I've always wondered when this 
would happen. . . . 

To Richard Murry August 14, 1922 

I did a thing to-day which it has been in my mind to do for a 
long time. I made a will, signed it, and got it duly witnessed. In 

Letters 1922 

it I left you my large pearl ring. My idea in leaving it to you 
was that you should give it -if you care to to your woman 
whoever she may be. I hope you won't think this ghoulish. But 
Jack gave me the ring and I feel it would be nice to keep it in 
the family. 

This doesn't mean, of course, that I am not as large as life and 
twice as natural. But just in case I was " taken sudden." I'd like 
you to know why the ring is yours. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett August 14, 7922 

I wired you to-day. This is just to say how glad I shall be if you 
can put me up on Wednesday. I have been horribly ill since you 
left. I must see Sorapure with as little delay as possible. Please 
don't tell anyone I am coming, not even Koteliansky. Don't 
make preparations for me, will you? What would be per- 
jcct would be to feel you just let me in without giving me a 
moment's thought. You know what I mean ? Everything will be 
nice. There's only one thing. If you can put me into a bedroom 
rather than the sitting room. . . . No, I take that back. That's 
nonsense. If you knew how those orange flowery curtains are 
waving in my mind at this moment! Will you really be at your 
door on Wednesday? Or is it a fairy tale! 

6, Pond Street, 
To Sir Harold Beauchamp Friday 

August 18, 1922 

I still feel guilty at having so disarranged your plans. My only 
consolation is that travelling on the Continent, at this moment, 
is very poor fun. Even when one has reserved seats in all the 
trains and so on, the immense crowds intrude. First-class car- 
riages are full of third-class passengers, and the boat absolutely 
swarmed with ladies and babies all in an advanced state of mal 
de mer! 

However, travelling never tires me as it does most people. I even 
enjoy it, discomforts and all. And we arrived here to find all 
kinds of thoughtful preparations, down to the good old fashioned 

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Bath Bun with sugar on the top an old favourite of mine. 
It made me feel I was anchored in England again. 

I saw Doctor Sorapure this morning and went over the battle- 
field with him. As far as one could say from a first view, it was 
not at all unsatisfactory. He says my heart is not diseased in any 
way. He believes its condition is due to my left lung, and it's tied 
up with the lung in some way for the present. It's all rather com- 
plicated. But the result of the interview was that there is noth- 
ing to be feared from its behaviour. I mean its tricks are more 
playful than fierce. And the more exercise I take in the way of 
walking and moving about the better. It may stretch it. Sounds 
rather rum, doesn't it ? But the point is, darling, J. and I can meet 
you anywhere in London, any time. This house is rather hard 
to find. It's a queer nice little place, but on the Bohemian side, 
i.e., I would trust its teas only not its lunches or dinners. 

Sorapure thought I looked amazingly better, of course. Every- 
body does. One feels a great fraud to have a well-built outside 
and such an annoying interior. 

To Violet Schiff August 21, 7922 

It's strange to be here again. London is empty, cool, rather 
shadowy, extraordinarily unlike Paris. I feel sentimental about it. 
Only the people I've seen so far seem fatigue, fatigue beyond 
words! 'One feels that they have come to an agreement not to 
grow any more, to stay just so all clipped and pruned and tight. 
As for taking risks, making mistakes, changing their opinions, 
being in the wrong, committing themselves, losing themselves, 
being human beings in fact no, a thousand times! "Let us sit 
down and have a nice chat about minor eighteenth century 
poetry "I never want to sit down and have a nice chat as long 
as I live. 

But it doesn't matter. They can't alter the fact that life is won- 
derful. It's wonderful enough to sit here writing to you, dear 
precious friend, and to lean back and think about you. The past 
lets nothing be. Even our meetings in Paris are changed almost 
beyond recognition. One sees them, linked together now, and 
one realises the immense importance of the hero * of them (whom 
I never saw and never shall see). 

1 Marcel Proust. 

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r~r-fr-r- f-r-f-r'ir-i'-ir^r--"'-^--^ r^*"-"-* ~-"^f*r*r*f~e~f~f*4~e^**^im~if*~-r*^*~fj^-s--*^*~.r*\ 

But I could write to you for ever to-day and instead I'm 
going out to lunch with Massingham pere. Could one possibly 
shake him up lean across the table and say quietly 

To Sir Harold Beauchamp August 22, 7922 

Just a note to say how very happy I was to see you yesterday 
and how much I enjoyed our lunch and talk. I only hope you 
feel as young as you look and that your bout of ill health is a 
thing of the past. The girls looked so well and charming, too. 
Wee Jeannie, though, looks almost too young to have a real live 
husband. She ought to be married in a daisy chain with the 
wedding service read from a seed catalogue, as it used to be when 
we were children. 

It's a sad pity that New Zealand is so far, dearest Papa. How nice 
it would be if we could all foregather more often. 

By this same post I am sending you a copy of my book. 

To Violet Schiff August 24, 7922 

Will you forgive me if I do not accept your invitation to come 
and stay with you and Sydney? The truth is I am such a bad 
visitor (as one is a bad sailor) that I have made it a rule nowadays 
never to stay with anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. I hope 
this does not sound too extravagant and ungracious. I could give 
you literally hundreds of reasons for it. I look forward im- 
mensely to seeing you both in town next month. Isn't the country 
rather chill? The country is so terribly airy. 

I have " taken " Brett's first floor for the next three miserable 
months and hope to be settled soon. At present all is in the air, 
and I can't work or even think of work. It will be very nice to 
have my own possessions and to be out of hotels for a time, 
without being en menage. I haven't the domestic virtues. 

I see Eliot's new magazine is advertised to appear shortly. It 
looks very full of rich plums. I think Prufroc^ by far by far and 
away the most interesting and the best modern poem. It stays in 
the memory as a work of art so different in that to Ulysses. 
The further I am away from it, the less I think of it. As to reading 
it again, or even opening that great tome never! What I feel 
about Ulysses is that its appearance sometime was inevitable. 

= 491 = 

Letters 7922 

Things have been heading that way for years. It ought to be re- 
garded as a portentous warning. But there is little chance of that, 
I fear. 

Are you well? I feel so much better these last few days. My 
doctor, who is an angel, seems to be curing my heart with dark 
brown sugar 1 

To William Gcrhardi 

No, dear Mr. Gerhardi, 

I don't always feel I have offended you. I only felt it once 
when the pause was so very long. But now it is hard to write 
to you when I know you are laughing at my poor little " y's " and 
"g's" and "d's." They feel so awkward; they refuse to skip 
any more. The little "g" especially is shy, with his tail in his 
mouth like an embarrassed whiting. 

I am very very sorry you are ill. I hope you will soon be better. 
I shall send you a little packet of tea on Monday. Please have a 
special little pot made and drink it with un peu de citron 
if you like citron. It tastes so good when one is in bed this tea, 
I mean. It always makes me feel even a little bit drunk well, 
perhaps drunk is not quite the word. But the idea, even, of the 
short story after a cup or two seems almost too good to be true, 
and I pledge it in a third cup as one pledges one's love. . . . 

I have decided to stay in London for three months. Then I go 
to Italy to the Lago di Garda. Perhaps we shall meet before then. 
I have taken a minute flat at this address and by the end of next 
week I shall be working again. I have a book to finish and I want 
to write a play this autumn. . . . It's very nice to be in London 
again, rather like coming back to one's dear wife. But I wish 
the intelligentsia were not quite so solemn, quite so determined 
to sustain a serious conversation only. They make one feel like 
that poor foreigner arraigned before Mr. Podsnap on the hearth- 
rug in Our Mutual Friend. I shall never, while Life lasts, be able 
to take Life for granted in the superb way they do. 

Are you able to work? I am glad Middleton Murry's short 
notice pleased you. I hope the Evening News man * has done 
you proud, too. And some one wrote to me and wondered if you 
would come to lunch one Sunday. But who am I to say ? 

i This was J.M.M. 
- 492 - 

Letters 1922 

To Anne Estelle Rice August 28, 1922 

I can't tell you what a joy it was to see you yesterday, dear 
and tres tres belle amie. How I loved looking at you again. And 
hearing you. And seeing your home everything. I so look for- 
ward to our meeting often this autumn. I do hope we may. Jack 
Murry sends his love. He's just had a new suit made and is stand- 
ing in front of me. 

/. M. : " Are the trousers full enough ? " 

K. M. : " Quite full enough! " 

/.Af.:" You're sure?" 

X.M.:" Certain!" 

/.M.:" They're not too full?" 

KM. :"Not in the least!" 

/. M.:" You're sure?" 

K. M. .'"Certain!" 

I must run and get a Bible and swear on it, " Those trousers arc 
PERFECT!! " Men are funny, aren't they? But very nice, too. 

To Sydney Schiff Monday 

August 7922 

Your letter made me feel angry with myself and very ungra- 
cious at having refused your so kind invitation. Please forgive 
me! I look forward more than I can say to seeing you and Violet 
in London. By the time you come I hope to be settled in my new 
rooms (they are at this address) I am already dreaming no end 
of a talk before my fire. 

I shall never be able to say a word to the intelligentsia, Sydney. 
They are too lofty, too far removed. No, that is unfair. It's simply 
that they are not in the least interested. Nor do they appear to 
know what one is driving at when one groans at the present 
state of English writing. As I see it the whole stream of English 
literature is trickling out in little innumerable marsh trickles. 

There is no gathering together, no force, no impetus, abso- 
lutely no passion! Why this is I don't know. But one feels 
a deathly cautiousness in everyone a determination not to be 
caught out. Who wants to catch them out or give them away? 
I can't for the life of me see the need of this acute suspicion and 

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Letters 1922 

narrowness. Perhaps the only thing to do is to ignore it all and 
go on with one's own job. But I confess that seems to me a poor 
conclusion to come to. If I, as a member of the orchestra, think 
I am playing right, try my utmost to play right, I don't want 
to go on in the teeth of so many others not playing at all or 
playing as I believe falsely. It is a problem. Let us talk it all 

About Lawrence. Yes, I agree there is much triviality, much 
that is neither here nor there. And a great waste of energy that 
ought to be well spent. But I did feel there was growth in Aaron's 
Rod there was no desire to please or placate the public, I did 
feel that Lorenzo was profoundly moved. Because of this, per- 
haps, I forgive him too much his faults. 

It's vile weather here a real fog. I am alone in the house 
10.30 P.M. Footsteps pass and repass that is a marvellous sound 
and the low voices talking on dying away. It takes me 
back years to the agony of waiting for one's love 

To Lady Ottolinc Morrdl Monday 

August 7922 

I would simply love to meet you at Taylor's whenever you 
ask me to come. Or if you would rather I met you anywhere 
else I shall be there. I can't walk yet absurd as it sounds 
only a few puffing paces, a most humiliating and pug-like per- 
formance. But once I get my legs back or rather once my heart is 
stronger I shall not be dependent on taxis. I live in them since I 
have come to London. I have got Fat Wyndham Lewis I hear 
is also fat, May Sinclair has waxed enormous, Anne Rice can't 
be supported by her ankles alone I try to comfort myself with 
many examples. But I don't really care it is awful how little 
one cares. Anything rather than illness rather than the sofa, 
and that awful dependence on others! 

I rather look forward to these three months in London, once 
I have got out of my boxes and into a real corner of my own. I 
dream of brand new friends not the dreadfully solemn " in- 
tensive " ones not the mind-probers. But young ones who aren't 
ashamed to be interested. Dear little Gerhardi who wrote Futility 
is one he sounds awfully nice. And there's another I met in 

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Letters 7922 

Switzerland so attractive! I don't think I care very much for 
the real intelligentsia, Ottoline, dearest. And they seem to be so 
uneasy, so determined not to be caught out! Who wants to catch 

I wish you would come to Italy for part of next winter. Do you 
know the Lago di Garda ? They say it is so lovely. And the jour- 
ney is nothing. 

It will be such a real joy to see you again. 

To Sylvia Lynd September 79, 7922 

It's the most miserable news to know you are in bed again and 
that again such bad sorrowful things have been happening to 
you. . . . What can one say ? I had so hoped and believed that 
your lean years were over. May they be over now! 

I'd love to come and see you. But stairs are unclimbable by 
me. I am better, but I can't walk more than a few yards. I can 
walk about a house and give a very good imitation of a perfectly 
well and strong person in a restaurant or from the door across 
the pavement to the taxi. But that's all. My heart still won't 
recover. I think I shall be in England two to three months, as 
there is a man here who can give me the X-ray treatment I've 
been having in Paris. After that I shall go to Italy. But all is 
vague. I'm seeing the specialist to-day. I may have to go back 
to Paris almost immediately. What it is to be in doctors' hands! 

If I stay, I do hope we shall be able to meet later on, perhaps. 
Let us arrange some easy place for both of us then. It would 
be most awfully nice to have a talk. I'm living in two crooked 
little rooms here in a little crooked house. It's a relief to be away 
from hotels after five months in Paris in a hotel bedroom over- 
looking a brick wall. 

I'll never be able to knock any spots off this city, my dear. 
It frightens me. When I'm with people I feel rather like an 
unfortunate without a racquet standing on the tennis court while 
a smashing game is being played by the other three it's a 
rather awful and rather silly feeling. 

Don't forget how much I'd love to see you. Or how sorry 
I am for everything. 

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"Letters 1922 

To J. M. Murry September 29, 1922 

. . . Ah, I had such a sad letter to-day from R. W. Goodbye 
Arno! She is afraid there will be no Arno for her. And goodbye 
Paris and the Manoukhin treatment! It cannot be for her. 
" Every day I am getting worse." Brave, noble little soul shining 
behind those dark, lighted eyes! She has wanted so much, she 
has had so little! She wants so terribly just to be allowed to warm 
herself to have a place at the fire. But she's not allowed. She's 
shut out. She must drive on into the dark. Why? Why can't I 
go to Rome? I should like to start for Rome to-day, just to kiss 
her hands and lay my head on her pillow. It is so terrible to be 

Outside my window there are leaves falling. Here, in two days, 
it is autumn. Not late autumn, but bright gold everywhere. Are 
the sunflowers out at the bottom of the vegetable garden ? There 
are quantities of small Japanese sunflowers, too, aren't there ? It's 
a mystery, Bogey, why the earth is so lovely. . . . 

R. has just been in again to finish his drawing. Then we went 
downstairs and he played. But what am I telling you? Nothing! 
Yet much happened. Don't you think it's queer how we have to 
talk " little language " to make one word clothe, feed and start 
in life one small thought? 

To Sylvia Lynd September 29, 1922 

How glad I should have been to have seen you next week. But 
I am being swep' away again to Paris next Monday, to go on with 
my X-ray treatment. Why do I always have to write to you about 
complaints! It is a horrid fate. But there it is. The bad weather 
here these last few days (it's fine, of course, since I bought my 
ticket) has brought my cough back again, stronger than ever for 
its small holiday. And my Paris doctor threatens me with a com- 
plete return to the sofa if I don't go through with his course. I 
thought I could manage to have the same thing done here. But it's 
not the same, and it's frightening to play with these blue rays. 

So there are my steamer trunk and hat box on the carpet eye- 
ing each other, walking round each other, ready to begin the fight 

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Letters 7922 

all over again. And I shan't see you or talk to you or give you tea 
or hear about anything. I'm so very, very sorry! 

Are you really better ? It's good news to know you are able to 
come as far as Hampstead. I have been staying in a tiny little 
house here, behind a fan of trees, with one of those green con- 
volvulus London gardens behind it. It's been beyond words a rest 
to be in a private house again with a private staircase and no res- 
taurant, nobody in buttons, no strange, foreign gentleman staring 
at your letters in the letter rack. Oh, how I hate hotels! They 
are like permanent railway stations without trains. 

There's the dinner bell. I must go down into the hold and eat. 
I have been doing the housekeeping here. It was very homelike 
to hear the sole domestic say, " I know a party, m'm, as is a nice 
'and with mouse 'oles, 'aving them in the kitchen somethink 
dreadful! " So unlike pert Suzanne and jolie Yvonne. 

To Anne Estelle Rice September 30, 1922 

Here are the books; so many thanks for them. I think some of 
the stories in A Hasty Bunch are quite extraordinarily good. All 
of them have interested me immensely. There is something so 
fresh and unspoilt about the writer, even when he is a little bit 
self-conscious in the youthful way, you know. But he has got 
real original talent and I think he'll do awfully good work. He's 
much more interesting than these sham young super-cultured crea- 
tures. I hope he gets on with his job. I feel I'd like to help him if I 
could, in some way. But I expect he'd scorn that idea. 

Do you know, cherie, I'm off to France on Monday. I want to go 
on with that treatment there rather than here and for many 
many reasons I enfin well, there's something in England 
that just pushes me off the nest. It's no good. I shall never " settle " 
here. But Brett is keeping my two little rooms here for flying 
visits. It's nice to have them. 

I am going to try your Hotel Jacob. I hope they will have rooms. 
Of course, ever since I took my ticket, the sun has come out and 
there's a kind of blue tinge in the sky, quite a piece of it. But if I 
tore my ticket up it would be snowing at tea-time. I shall never 
forget my LUNCH with you. 

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Letters 7922 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett Select Hotel 

Place de la Sorbonne 

October 3, 7922 

I can see your eyes laughing at the name of my hotel. What a 
name. One can only breathe it. Never mind. If only you knew how 
glad I am to be. in it after our chase round Paris last night. 

We had a divine crossing, very still silvery sea with gulls mov- 
ing on the waves like the lights in a pearl. It was fiery hot in Calais 
Whoof ! It was blazing. And there were old women with pears 
to sell wherever you looked or didn't look 

Voici mes jolies poires! 

Yellowy green with leaves among them. Old hands holding up the 
satiny baskets. So beautiful. English ladies buying them and trying 
to eat them through their veils. So awful. The way to Paris was 
lovely too. All the country just brushed over with light gold, and 
white oxen ploughing and a man riding a horse into a big dark 
pond. Paris, too, very warm and shadowy with wide spaces and 
lamps a kind of glow-worm red not yellow at all. 

Then began the chase. It ended in a perfectly FEARFUL room 
that looked like the scene of a long line of murders. The water in 
the pipes sobbed and gurgled and sighed all night and in the 
morning it sounded as though people broke open the shutters 
with hatchets. 

Then I remembered this hotel where I stayed during the bom- 
bardment. Still here. Still the same. I have a funny room on the 
6th floor that looks over the roofs of the Sorbonne. Large grave 
gentlemen in marble bath gowns are dotted on the roof. Some 
hold up a finger; some are only wise. A coy rather silly-looking 
eagle is just opposite perched on a plaque, called Geologic. I like 
this view fearfully. And every hour a small, rather subdued, re- 
gretful little bell chimes. This is not at all a chic large hotel like 
the Victoria Palace. It's quiet. One goes out for food, which is 
much the best arrangement. It's very cheap, too. Gone are my 
sumptuous days of suites and salles de bain. I always hated them 
and now I don't need them, thank God. 

= 498 - 

Letters 7922 

To William Gcrhardi October 7922 

I am very shaken to-day after a small minor revolution in the 
night. I put a vacuum flask full of boiling tea on the table by my 
bed last night and at about two o'clock in the morning there was 
a most TERRIFIC explosion. It blew up everything. People ran 
from far and near. Gendarmes broke through the shutters with 
hatchets, firemen dropped through trap doors. Or very nearly. 
At any rate the noise was deafening and when I switched on the 
light there was my fiaschino outwardly calm still but tinkling in- 
ternally in a terribly ominous way and a thin sad trickle oozed 
along the table. 

I have nobody to tell this to to-day. So I hope your eyes roll. I 
hope you appreciate how fearful it might have been had it burst 
0#/wardly and not ///wardly. 

Bon jour, Mr. Gerhardi. I am so sorry we have not met in Eng- 
land. But after all I had to come abroad again and I shall spend 
the next three months in Paris instead of London. Perhaps we 
shall not meet until you are very old. Perhaps your favourite 
grandson will wheel you to my hotel then (I'm doomed to 
hotels) and instead of laughing, as we should now, a faint, 
light, airy chuckle will pass from bath chair to bath chair 

I don't awfully like the name of your new book, 1 but I am sure 
the booksellers will. But then I don't very much like the idea of 
so-called somersaults in the first person. But I am certain the pub- 
lic will. 

I wonder for how long you have put aside your novel About 
Love. Please tell me when you take it up again. 

No, I didn't see the English Review. It's raining. I must rescue 
my dear little John Milton from the window sill. 

Rescued. . . . 

People went on asking me about Mr. Gerhardi. His past, his 
present, his future, his favourite jam, did he prefer brown bread 
for a change sometimes. I answered everything. 

I hope to have rather a better book out in the spring. 

Goodbye. Are you quite well again? The weather is simply 
heavenly here. 

1 The book was abandoned. (W.G.) 

= 499 = 

Letters 1922 

To /. M. Murry October 4, 7922 

... I don't feel influenced by Y. or D. I merely feel I've heard 
ideas like my ideas, but bigger ones, far more definite ones. And 
that there really is Hope real Hope, not half -Hope. ... As for 
Tchekhov being damned why should he be ? Can't you rope 
Tchekhov in ? I can. He's much nearer to me than he used to be. 

It's nice to hear of Richard sawing off table-legs and being 
moved by the greengrocer. Why is it greengrocers have such a 
passion for bedding people out ? ... In my high little room for 
10 francs a day with flowers in a glass and a quilted sateen bed- 
cover, I don't feel far from R. either. Oh, it's awfully nice to have 
passed private suites and marble-tops and private bathrooms by! 
Gone! Gone for ever! I found a little restaurant last night where 
one dines ever so sumptuous for 6-7 francs, and the grapes arc 
tied with red satin bows, and someone gives the cat a stewed prune 
and someone else cries: "Le chat a mange un compote de 
pruneaux! " 

True, one is no longer of people. But was one ever ? This look- 
ing on, understanding what one can, is better. 

October 6, 1922 

. . . How very strange about your soldier! I wish I had seen 
him. Petone! The Gear Company! And fancy your remembering 
about those rugs. The way you told me the story reminded me of 
D. H. L. somehow. It was quite different. I saw the soldier so 
plainly, heard his voice, saw the deserted street on early closing 
day, saw his clothes, the sack. " Old boy . . ." It was strangely 

By the way, I wonder why things that happen in the rain seem 
always more wonderful ? Do you feel that ? There's such a fresh- 
ness about them, something so unexpected and vivid. I could go on 
thinking of that for hours. . . . 

It's the most lovely morning. There's just a light sailing breeze 
and the sun is really hot. Thinking of London is like thinking of 
living in a chimney. Are there really masses and masses of books ? 
I do hope you won't forget to send me that Tchekhov. I look for- 

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Letters 1922 

ward to it very much. Can one get hold of Tolstoy's diaries? Is 
there a cheap English edition that is not too cut and trimmed? 
I wish you'd let me know. . . . 

I was wondering if next time you went to the D.'s you would 
take a bottle of barley-sugar to those young heroes. I feel things 
like barley-sugar are apt to be a little scarce in that household, 
and, however wonderful your Da may be, to have a pull, take it 
out and look at it and put it back again does mean something. 
I am sure Michael especially would agree. And then you'll be for 
ever after the barley-sugar man which is a nice name. 

October 8, 7922 

. . . Yes, this is where I stayed pendant la guerre. It's the quiet- 
est hotel I ever was in. I don't think tourists come at all. There 
are funny rules about not doing one's washing or fetching in one's 
cuisine from dehors which suggest a not rich an' grand clientele. 
What is nice too is one can get a tray in the evening if one doesn't 
want to go out. Fearfully good what I imagine is provincial cook- 
ing all in big bowls, piping hot, brought up by the gargon who 
is a v. nice fellow in a red veskit and white apron and a little grey 
cloth capl I think some English traveller left it in a cupboard 
about 1879. The salt and pepper stand, by the way, is a little glass 
motor car. Salt is driver and Pepper Esquire is master in the back 
seat the dark fiery one of the two, so different to plain old Salt. 
. . . What a good fellow he is, though! 

Yesterday the wind was nor' north by north by east by due east 
by due east-north-east. If you know a colder one, it was there, too. 
I had to thaw a one-franc piece to get the change out of it. (That 
is a joke for your Sunday paper only!) 

I've just read you on Bozzy. You awe me very much by your 
familiarity with simply all those people. You've always such a vast 
choice of sticks in the hall-stand for when you want to go walk- 
ing and even a vaster choice of umbrellas while I go all un- 
protected and exposed with only a fearful sense of the heavens 

Mary! There's a most beautiful magpie on my roof. Arc mag- 
pies still wild ? Ah me, how little one knows! 

*" 501 = 

Letters 7922 

To S. S. Koteliansfy October 9, 7922 

I have finished the letters *; here they are. They are, the more 
one looks into them, a remarkable revelation of what goes on 
behind the scenes. Except for " Kiss the foal " and " buy the chil- 
dren sweets; even doctors prescribe sweets for children," there is 
hardly one statement that isn't pure matter-of-fact. The whole af- 
fair is like the plot of a short story or small novel by himself; he 
reacts to everything exactly as he would to a written thing. There's 
no explanation, no evidence of a LIVING man, a REAL man. The 
glimpse one has of his relationship with Anya is somehow petty 
and stuffy, essentially a double bed relationship. And then " Tur- 
genev read so badly"; they say he (D.) read so superbly Oh 
dear, Oh dear, it would take an Anna Grigorevna to be proud 
of such letters. 

Yet this was a noble, suffering, striving soul, a real hero among 
men wasn't he? I mean from his books. . . . The one who 
writes the letters is the house porter of the other. I suppose one 
ought not to expect to find the master at his own front door as 
well as in his study. But I find it hard to reconcile myself to that. 
I do not think these deep divisions in people are necessary or vital. 
Perhaps it is cowardice in me. 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett October 9, 7922 

Don't be cross with me if I am dull just now. My cough is so 
much worse that I am a cough a living, walking or lying down 
cough. Why I am allowed to stay in this hotel I can't imagine. 
But there it is. I must have terribly kind neighbours. As soon as 
it gets better I shall present a bouquet to the left door and to the 
right. " From a grateful Patient." It's only the X-rays doing their 
worst before they do their better. But it's a nuisance. Such a queer 
effect on the boulevards here: the trees are out for a second Spring 
frail small leaves, like you see in April. Lyrics in middle age 
love song by old chestnuts over 50. All the same one's heart aches 
to see them. There is something tragic in Spring. 

If you knew how vivid the little house is, but vivid beyond 
words. Not only for itself. It exists apart from all it is a whole 

1 Dostoevsky's letters to his wife. 
= 502 = 

Letters 7922 

in life. I think of you. . . . One has such kindly soft tender 

But to work to work. One must take just those feelings and 
work with them. Life is a mystery. We can never get over that. 
Is it a series of deaths and series of killings ? It is that too. But 
who shall say where death ends and resurrection begins. That's 
what one must do. Give it, the idea of resurrection, the power that 
death would like to have. Be born again and born again faster than 
we die. . . . 

Tell me, why do you " warn " me ? What mustn't I be " too 
sure " of? You mystify me. Do you think I am too sure of Love? 
But if Love is there one must treat it as though one were sure of it 
How else ? If it is not there I'd rather be sure of that, too. Or 
do you mean something else ? 

It has turned as cold as ice and colder. The sun shines but it 
is soleil glace. It's due North and due East, all mixed up in the 
same frozen bag. If it wasn't for the blue up above one would cry. 

Don't let our next meeting be in Paris. It's no fun meeting in 
hotels. And sitting on beds and eating in nasty old restaurants. 
Let's wait a little longer and meet in the south in a warm still place 
where I can put a cricket at your third ear so that you can hear 
its song. 

To ]. M. Murry October n, 7922 

... It has got very cold here. I feel it. I am adjusting myself 
to it and it makes me feel rather dull distrait, you know. I have 
had to leave my dear little grenier au 6eme for something less 
loftly, more expensive, but warmer. However, it's a very nice 
room. " Et vous avez un beau pendule," as the gar^on said. He 
thoroughly approves of the change. All the same, you say " Tell 
me about yourself." I'll have a try. Here goes. 

A new way of being is not an easy thing to live. Thinking about 
it, preparing to meet the difficulties and so on, is one thing, meet- 
ing those difficulties another. I have to die to so much; I have to 
make such big changes. I feel the only thing to do is to get the 
dying over to court it, almost. (Fearfully hard, that.) And then 
all hands to the business of being born again. What do I mean 
exactly ? Let me give you an instance. Looking back, my boat is 

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Letters 7922 

almost swamped sometimes by seas of sentiment. " Ah, what I 
have missed ! How sweet it was, how dear, how warm, how simple, 
how precious! " And I think of the garden at the Isola Bella and 
the furry bees and the house-wall so warm. But then I remember 
what we really felt there the blanks, the silences, the anguish of 
continual misunderstanding. Were we positive, eager, real, alive ? 
No, we were not. We were a nothingness shot with gleams of what 
might be. But no more. Well, I have to face everything as far 
as I can and see where I stand what remains. 

For with all my soul I do long for a real life, for truth, and for 
real strength. It's simply incredible, watching K. M., to see how 
little causes a panic. She's a perfect corker at toppling over. . . . 

October 13, 7922 

. . . It's a divinely beautiful day so was yesterday. The sky is 
as blue as the sky can be. I shall go to the Luxembourg Gardens 
this afternoon and count dahlia and baby heads. The Paris gardens 
are simply a glorious sight with flowers masses of beloved Japon- 
ica, enough Japonica at last. I shall have a garden one day, and 
work in it, too. Plant, weed, tie up, throw over the wall. And the 
peony border really will be staggering. Oh, how I love flowers! I 
think of them with such longing. I go through them, one after an- 
other, remembering them from their first moments with love 
oh, with rapture, as if they were babies! No, it's what other women 
feel for babies perhaps. Oh, Earth ! Lovely, unforgettable Earth. 
Yesterday, I saw the leaves falling, so gently, so softly, raining 
down from little slender trees, golden against the blue. Perhaps 
Autumn is loveliest. Lo! it is Autumn. What is the magic of that? 
It is magic to me. 

October 14, 7922 

. . . About " doing operations on yourself." I know just what 
you mean. It is as though one were the sport of circumstance 
one is, indeed. Now happy, now unhappy, now fearful, now con- 
fident, just as the pendulum swings. You see one can control 
nothing if one isn't conscious of a purpose: it's like a journey 
without a goal. There is nothing that makes you ignore some 
things, accept others, order others, submit to others. For there 

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is no reason why A. should be more important than B. So there 
one is involved beyond words, feeling the next minute I may 
be bowled over or struck all of a heap. I fyiow nothing. 

This is to me a very terrible state of affairs. Because it's the cause 
of all the unhappiness (the secret, profound, unhappiness) in my 
life. But I mean to escape and to try to live differently. It isn't 
easy. But is the other state easy? And I do believe with all my 
being that if one can break through the circle, one finds " my 
burden is light." 

I've had such a queer birthday. L. M. brought me a brin of 
mimosa. And I had my poem and the telegrams. Wasn't it awfully 
nice of L. E. and W. J. to send one ? It's been sunny, too. But all 
the same I'd rather not think about my birthday. 

Oh, the little Tchekhov book has come. Do you think I might 
have the Lit. Sup. with your article in it ? I see no papers here 
at all. That's not a complaint, though. For Paris flaps with papers, 
as you know. I haven't seen a single newspaper since leaving 
London. There! Does that shock you? 

October 15, 7922 

. . . About being like Tchekhov, and his letters. Don't forget he 
died at 43 that he spent how much of his life ? chasing about in 
a desperate search after health. And if one reads " intuitively " the 
last letters they are terrible. What is left of him ? " The braid on 
German women's dresses bad taste " and all the rest is misery. 
Read the last! All hope is over for him. Letters are deceptive, at 
any rate. It's true he had occasional happy moments. But for the 
last eight years he knew no security at all. We know he felt that 
his stories were not half what they might be. It doesn't take much 
imagination to picture him on his death-bed thinking, " I have 
never had a real chance. Something has been all wrong." 

To the Hon. Dorothy Brett October 15, 7922 

I never had a lovelier letter from you. And it came on my birth- 
day, wasn't that good fortune. Wasn't that like you, the billiard 
champion ? I did love you for it! You have a real very rare gift for 
writing letters. And oh how nice and long they are! Arrows, little 

- SOS = 

Letters 7922 

side borders, little flower beds very tight packed with words along 
the edge I follow them all and even dip into the Egyptian Maze 
though never to find my way in it! 

Ah, my dear. Priceless exquisite treasures came floating out of 
your letter. I have gathered them all up. But that reminds me of 
the canary feathers. I am having a pair of wings made of them 
for delicate occasions. Did you ever feel anything so airy-fairy? 
I sat in the Luxembourg Gardens to-day and I thought of you. 
I am glad you were not with me for I felt like a chat malade, sit- 
ting in the sun and not a friend of anybody's. But all was so 
ravishingly fall-of-the-year lovely that I felt how you would have 
responded. The gardener was sweeping leaves from the bright 
grass. The flowers are still glorious but still, as though suspended, 
as though hardly daring to breathe. Down, down, soft and light 
floated the leaves. They fall over babies and old people and the 
laughing young. The fat pigeons-out-of-the-Ark are no longer 
quite so fat. But they swing between the trees just as they did, 
swooping and tumbling as if trying to scare one. Heavens! What 
a lovely earth it is ! 

I am so glad you are going to Scotland. I feel it may do you good 
to have a change. And it's nice to think of you fishing. Forgive 
me if I feel the fish show off just a tiny little bit when you come 
near, flash about, blow bubbles, swim on their heads. But that's 
only my wickedness. For I feel you are very expert and grave 
really and I should stand on the bank awed! You see I've only 
fished with things like cottage loaves and a bent pin and a worm. 

Tell me about Scotland. I do so hope it's going to be nice. I 
wonder if you will take your velours hat. It suits you marvellously. 
When I am rich you shall have velours hats by the dozing, and a 
persian lamb jacket made like your jazz velvet coat, lined with 
pale yellow brocade. A pinky pigeon grey very soft pleated skirt 
to go with it, crocodile shoes, thick grey silk stockings. And in- 
side the coat a straight tunic of silver jersey de soie. I confess I am 
quite ravished away by you in the persian lamb coat. I have just 
been with you to a concert you wearing it. Everybody turned 
round; the orchestra stopped, the flute fainted and was carried 
out. A dark gentleman stepped forward and presented you with 
the Order of the Sun and Moon; it was the Shah of Persia. But I 
must stop. Though I could go on for ever. 

Letters 7922 

It's Sunday evening. 6.30. I am lying in bed writing to you. 
Just as before, I get up at midi and have to go to bed at about half 
past five. But I feel far more ill this time than last time. I don't 
know what is the matter, I am sick all the time and cold. But 
as I've never imagined cold before an entirely new kind. One 
feels like wet stone. Piping hot-water bottles, covers, grandma 
jaegers, nothing will stop it. Then it goes and one burns instead. 
And all this in a little band-box of a room. Never mind, it will 
pass. To-morrow I am going to see Gurdjieff. I feel certain he 
will help me. I feel equally certain that this particular horrid hour 
is passing, and I'll come out of it, please heaven, a much nicer 
creature. Not a snail. Not a creeping worm, either. I shall come 
and make the whole of your garden before you can say " Painting- 
brush." You just wait! 

My dear little rooms. I shall be in them in the Spring, if I 
manage to escape and I really think I shall. 

I have seen very few people since I came. Only men connected 
with the Institute, a very nice Doctor Young and a quite remark- 
able other man rather like the chief mate on a cargo steamer. 
A type I like. Work I can't at all for the present. Even reading 
is very difficult. 

The weather is marvellous. Where it is not blue it is gold. Oh, 
I must tell you. We took a taxi out to lunch to-day (there's no food 
here except supper trays) and who should be at the restaurant 
but (of course, you guess) Mrs. D. Tres tres tres chic with such an 
extra passionate Sunday Paris mouth and so terrifically at 
home! I must say I liked her for it. It was so young. She sat be- 
hind us. As we got out she saw me and I gave her a wretched cool 
nod. Not on purpose. But at that moment I was overcome with 
this confounded sickness and hardly knew what I was doing. 
But I hope she won't think me very horrid for it. I don't like do- 
ing such things. 

But I am still not sincere with you. In my heart I am far more 
desperate about my illness and about Life than I ever show you. 
I long to lead a different life in every way. I have no belief what- 
ever in any kind of medical treatment. Perhaps I am telling you 
this to beg you to have faith in me - to believe that whatever 
I do it is because I can't do otherwise. That is to say (let me say it 
bang out) I may go into the Institute for three months. I don't 

= SO? = 

Letters 7922 

know that I shall. But if I have more faith in it than in Manoukhin 
I certainly must. Keep this private. I know you will. But don't 
speak to anybody about it. 

Manoukhin isn't a magician. He has cured some people a 
great many and some he hasn't cured. He made me fatter 
that is quite true. But otherwise ? I'm exactly where I was before 
I started. I " act " all the rest, because I am ashamed to do other- 
wise, looking as I do. But it's all a sham. It amounts to nothing. 
However this is just speculation. But as I am thinking it I felt 
I ought to write it to you. See ? It is not a serious proposition. 

To /. M . Murry October 17, 7922 

I don't want any more books at present of any kind. I am sick 
and tired of books, and that's a dreadful fact. They are to me like 
sandwiches out of the Hatter's bag. I'll get back to them, of course. 

A queer thing. I have cramp in my thumb and can hardly hold 
the pen. That accounts for this writing. L. M. and I are off to 
Fontainebleau this morning. I am taking my toothbrush and 
comb. Dr. Young 'phoned me yesterday that there is a lovely room 
all ready. I'll see G. and come back to-morrow. It's not sunny to- 
day. What a terrible difference sun makes! It ought not to. One 
ought to have a little core of inner warmth that keeps burning 
and is 'only added to by sun. One has, I believe, if one looks 
for it. ... 

I must get up. The puffi train is, as usual, steaming up and down 
my room at the very idea of going away, even for half a day. 

To S. S. Koteliansfy October 19, 7922 

I hope this letter will not surprise you too much. It has nothing 
to do with our business arrangements. Since I wrote I have gone 
through a kind of private revolution. It has been in the air for 
years with me. And now it has happened very very much has 

When we met in England and discussed " ideas " I spoke, as 
nearly as one can, the deepest truth I knew to you. But even while 
I spoke it I felt a pretender for my knowledge of this truth 
is negative, not positive, as it were cold, and not warm with life. 

= 508 = 

Letters 1922 

For instance all we have said of " individuality " and of being 
strong and single, and of growing I believe it. I try to act up 
to it. But the reality is far far different. Circumstances still hyp- 
notise me. I am a divided being with a bias towards what I want 
to be, but no more. And this it seems I cannot improve. No, I can- 
not. I have tried. If you knew how many note books there are of 
these trials, but they never succeed. So I am always conscious of 
this secret disruption in me and at last (thank Heaven!) it has 
ended in a complete revolution and I mean to change my whole 
way of life entirely. I mean to learn to work in every possible way 
with my hands, looking after animals and doing all kinds of 
manual labour. I do not want to write any stories until I am a less 
terribly poor human being. It seems to me that in life, as it is lived 
to-day, the catastrophe is imminent; I feel this catastrophe in me. 
I want to be prepared for it, at least. 

The world as I know it is no joy to me and I am useless in it. 
People are almost non-existent. This world to me is a dream and 
the people in it are sleepers. I have known just instances of waking 
but that is all. I want to find a world in which these instances arc 
united. Shall I succeed ? I do not know. I scarcely care. What is 
important is to try and learn to live really live and in rela- 
tion to everything not isolated (this isolation is death to me). 

Does this sound fatuous ? I cannot help it. I have to let you know 
for you mean much to me. I know you will never listen to what- 
ever foolish things other people may say about me. Those other 
helpless people going round in their little whirlpool do not mat- 
ter a straw to me. 

All this sounds much too serious and dramatic. As a matter of 
fact there is absolutely no tragedy in it; of course. 

To J. A/. Murry October 21, 7922 

... I have been through a little revolution since my last letter. 
I suddenly made up my mind (for it was sudden, at the last) to 
try and learn to live by what I believed in, no less, and not as in 
all my life up till now to live one way and think another ... I 
don't mean superficially, of course, but in the deepest sense I've 
always been disunited. And this, which has been my "secret 

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sorrow " for years, has become everything to me just now. I really 
can't go on pretending to be one person and being another any 
more, Boge. It is a living death. So I have decided to make a clean 
sweep of all that was " superficial " in my past life and start again 
to see if I can get into that real simple truthful full life I dream 
of. I have been through a horrible deadly time coming to this. You 
know the kind of time. It doesn't show much, outwardly, but one 
is simply chaos within ! 

. . . No treatment on earth is any good to me, really. It's all 
pretence. M. did make me heavier and a little stronger. But that 
was all if I really face the facts. The miracle never came near hap- 
pening. It couldn't, Boge. And as for my spirit well, as a result 
of that life at the Victoria Palace I stopped being a writer. I have 
only written long or short scraps since The Fly. If I had gone on 
with my old life I never would have written again, for I was dying 
of poverty of life. 

I wish when one writes about things, one didn't dramatize them 
so. I feel awfully happy about all this, and it's all as simple as can 
be. ... In any case I shan't write any stories for three months, 
and I'll not have a book ready before the spring. It doesn't matter. 

Le Prieure 
October 23, 7922 

. . . I'll tell you what this life is more like than anything; it is 
like Gulliver's Travels. One has, all the time, the feeling of having 
been in a wreck and by the mercy of Providence, got ashore 
somewhere. . . . Simply everything is different. Not only lan- 
guages, but food, ways, people, music, methods, hours all. It's a 
real new life. . . .* 

Dr. Young, a real friend of mine, comes up and makes me a 
good fire. In " return " I am patching the knee of his trousers to- 
day. But it's all " stranger " than that. For instance, I was look- 
ing for wood the other evening. All the boxes were empty. I found 
a door at the end of the passage, went through and down some 
stone steps. Presently steps came up and a woman appeared, very 

1 A detailed account of life at the Gurdfeff Institute is contained in an essay by 
Dr. James Young in The New Adelphi for September 1928. 

Letters 1922 

simply dressed, with her head bound in a white hankerchief. She 
had her arms full of logs. I spoke in French, but she didn't under- 
stand English, no good. But her glance was so lovely laugh- 
ing and gentle, absolutely unlike people as I have known people. 
Then I patted a log and she gave it to me and we went our 
ways. . . . 

October 26, 7922 

. . . All I am doing now is trying to put into practice the " ideas " 
I have had for so long, of another and a far more truthful exist- 
ence. I want to learn something that no books can teach me, and 
I want to try and escape from my terrible illness. That again you 
can't be expected to understand. You think I'm like other people 
I mean, normal. I'm not. I don't know which is the ill me and 
which is the well me. I am simply one pretence after another. 
Only now I recognise it. ... 

As for writing stories and " being true to one's gift," I couldn't 
write them if I were not here, even. I am at an end of my source 
for the time. Life has brought me no flaw. I want to write, but 
differently far more steadily. 

October 27, 7922 

. . . What are you going to do to the fruit trees ? Please tell me. 
We have masses of quinces here. They are no joke when they fall 
expres on your head. 

I do hope you are having this glorious weather. Day after day 
of perfect sunshine. It's like Switzerland: an intense blue sky, a 
chill in the air, a wonderful clarity so that you see people far 
away, all sharp-cut and vivid. 

I spend all the time in the garden. Visit the carpenters, the trench 
diggers. (We are digging for a Turkish Bath not to discover 
one, but to lay the pipes.) The soil is very nice here, like sand, 
with small whitey-pinky pebbles in it. Then there are the sheep to 
inspect, and the new pigs that have long golden hair very 
mystical pigs. A mass of cosmic rabbits and hens and goats are 
on the way. . . . It's so full of life and humour that I wouldn't 
be anywhere else. It's just the same all through ease after ri- 
gidity expresses it more than anything else. And yet I realise, as I 

= 511 = 

Letters 1922 

write this, that it's no use. An old personality is trying to get back 
to the outside and observe, and it's not true to the present facts 
at all. What I write seems so petty. In fact, I feel I cannot express 
myself in writing just now. The old mechanism isn't mine any 
longer, and I can't control the new. I just have to talk this baby 
talk. . . . 

October 28, 7922 

. . . There is always this danger of deceiving oneself. I feel it, 
too. I only begin to get rid of it by trying and trying to relax 
to give way. I am sure you will understand why it is so hard to 
write. We don't move in our letters. We say the same things over 
and over. 

As I tried to explain, I'm in such a state of transition. I could not, 
if I would, get back to the old life and I can't deal with the new. 
But anxiety I never feel. Perhaps I shall. I cannot tell. 

November 4, 7922 

. . . Ever since my last letter to you I have been enraged with 
myself. It's so like me. I am ashamed of it. But you who know me 
will perhaps understand. I always try to go too fast. I always think 
all can be changed and renewed in the twinkling of an eye. It is 
most fearfully hard for me, as it is for you, not to be " intense." 
And whenever I am intense (really, this is so) I am a little bit false. 
Take my last letter and the one before. The tone was all wrong. 
As to any new truth oh, Boge, I am really ashamed of myself. 
It's so very wrong. Now I have to go back to the beginning and 
start again and again tell you that I have been " over-fanciful," 
and I seem to have tried to force the strangeness. Do you know 
what I mean? Let me try now to face facts. Of course, it is true 
that life here is quite different, but violent changes to one's in- 
dividuality of course, they do not occur. . . . 

All my friends accepted me as a frail half-creature who migrated 
towards sofas. Oh, just wait and see how you and I will live one 
day so happily, so splendidly. But in the meantime, please never 
take what I say for " absolute." I do not take what you say for 
" final." I try to see it as relative. 

- 512 - 

Letters 7922 

November 7922 

. . . The stockings arrived in perfect order. What an extraor- 
dinary brain wave, to hide them in the Times! They are very 
lovely stockings, too, just the shade I like in the evening. One's 
legs are like legs by moonlight. 

It's intensely cold here colder and colder. I have just been 
brought some small fat pine-logs to mix with my boulets. Boulets 
are unsatisfactory; they are too passive. I simply live in my fur- 
coat. I gird it on like my heavenly armour and wear it ever night 
and day. After this winter the Arctic even will have no terrors 
for me. Happily the sun does shine as well and we are thoroughly 
well nourished. But I shall be glad when the year has turned. 

Are you having really perfect weather (except for the cold) ? 
It is absolutely brilliantly sunny a deep blue sky dry air. 
Really it's better than Switzerland. But I must get some wool- 
lined over-boots. My footgear is ridiculous when I am where I was 
yesterday round about the pig-sty. It is noteworthy that the 
pigs have of themselves divided their sty into two: one the 
clean part they keep clean and sleep in. This makes me look 
at pigs with a different eye. One must be impartial, even about 
them, it seems. We have two more cows about to calve in three 
weeks' time. Very thrilling. Also the white goat is about to have 
a little kid. I want to see it very much. They are so charming. 

November 7922 

... I don't know how you feel. But I still find it fearfully hard 
to cope with people I do not like or who are not sympathetic. With 
the others all goes well. But living here with all kinds, I am simply 
appalled at my helplessness when I want to get rid of someone 
or to extricate myself from a conversation, even. But I have learnt 
how to do it. I have learnt that the only way is to court it, not to 
avoid it to face it. Terribly difficult for me in practice. But until 
I really do master this I cannot get anywhere. There always comes 
the moment when I am uncovered, so zu sagen, and the other man 
gets in his knock-out blow. 


Letters 1922 

_y j. j-ij- j-ijun^ Jxfxrxg-J- J^Jx<^J^J-^^>-*xx^^-^x*xrx^*--^-*-x<- *~^**f f*f*ffffff**(~t-1~-~>~'^' 

December i6 f 1922 

... It seems to me very mysterious how so many of us now- 
adays refuse to be cave-dwellers any longer, but in our several 
ways are trying to learn to escape. The old London life, whatever 
it was but even the life we have led recently wherever we have 
been, is no longer even possible to me. It is so far from me that it 
seems to exist in another world. This, of course, is a wrong feeling. 
For, after all, there are the seeds of what we long after in every- 
body, and if one remembers that, any surroundings are ... pos- 
sible, at least. 

I read Youspensky's Tertium Organum the other day. For some 
reason it didn't carry me away. I think it is quite interesting, but 
. . . perhaps I was not in the mood for books. I am not at present, 
though I know that in the future I shall want to write them more 
than anything else in the world. But different books ... I con- 
fess present-day literature simply nauseates me, excepting always 
Hardy and the other few whose names I can't remember. But the 
general trend of it seems to me quite without any value whatever. 

December 20, 1922 

What is the weather like with you ? It's so soft and spring-like 
here that actually pink roses are out. So are the Christmas roses 
under the espalier pear-trees. I love Christmas; I shall always feel 
it is a holy time. I wonder if dear old Hardy will write a poem 
this year. 

Boxing Day, 7922 

How is the old Adam revived in you, I wonder ? What aspect 
has he ? There is nothing to be done when he rages except to re- 
member that it's bound to be; it's the swing of the pendulum. 
One's only hope is, when the bout is exhausted, to get back to that 
you think you really care for, aim for, wish to live by, as soon 
as possible. It's the intervals of exhaustion that seem to waste so 
much energy. You see, the question is always: Who am I? and 
until that is discovered I don't see how one can really direct any- 
thing in oneself. Is there a Me? One must be certain of that be- 

= SH = 

Letters 7922 

fore one has a real unshakable leg to stand on. And I don't believe 
for one moment these questions can be settled by the head alone. 
It is this life of the head, this intellectual life at the expense of all 
the rest which has got us into this state. How can it get us out 
of it? I see no hope of escape except by learning to live in our 
emotional and instinctive being as well, and to balance all there. 

You see, if I were allowed one single cry to God, that cry would 
be: / want to be REAL. Until I am that I don't see why I shouldn't 
be at the mercy of old Eve in her various manifestations for ever. 
. . . At this present moment all I know really, really, is that though 
one thing after another has been taken from me, I am not an- 
nihilated, and that I hope more than hope believe. It is hard 
to explain. 

I heard from B. yesterday. She gave a very horrid picture of 
the present S. and his views on life and women. I don't know how 
much of it is even vaguely true, but it corresponds to S. the Ex- 
hibitionist. The pity of it is life is so short, and we waste about 
nine-tenths of it simply throw it away. I always feel S. refuses 
to face the fact of his wastefulness. And sometimes he feels he 
never will. All will pass like a dream, with mock comforts, mock 
consolations. . . . 

To the Countess Russell December 31, 7922 

I am sending this, as you see, at the last last moment while the 
old year is in the very act of turning up his toes. I wish I could 
explain why I have not written to you for so long. It is not for lack 
of love. But such a black fit came over me in Paris when I realised 
that X-ray treatment wasn't going to do any more than it had 
done beyond upsetting my heart still more that I gave up every- 
thing and decided to try a new life altogether. But this decision 
was immensely complicated with " personal " reasons, too. When 
I came to London from Switzerland I did (Sydney was right so 
far) go through that books and undergraduates call a spiritual 
crisis, I suppose. For the first time in my life, everything bored me. 
Everything, and worse, everybody seemed a compromise and so 
flat, so dull, so mechanical. If I had been well I should have rushed 
off to darkest Africa or the Indus or the Ganges or wherever it is 
one rushes at those times, to try for a change of heart (One can't 

= SIS - 

Letters 1922 

change one's heart in public) and to gain new impressions. For it 
seems to me we live on new impressions really new ones. 

But such grand flights being impossible I burned what boats I 
had and came here where I am living with about 50-60 people, 
mainly Russians. It is a fantastic existence, impossible to describe. 
One might be anywhere, in Bokhara or in Tiflis or Afghanistan 
(except, alas! for the climate!). But even the climate does not 
seem to matter so much when one is whirled along at such a rate. 
For we do most decidedly whirl. But I cannot tell you what a joy 
it is to me to be in contact with living people who are strange and 
quick and not ashamed to be themselves. It's a kind of supreme 
airing to be among them. 

But what nonsense this all sounds. That is the worst of letters; 
they are fumbling things. 

I haven't written a word since October and I don't mean to until 
the spring. I want much more material; I am tired of my little 
stories like birds bred in cages. 

Goodbye, my dearest cousin. I shall never know anyone like 
you; I shall remember every little thing about you for ever. 

To J. M. Murry December 31, 7922 

My fountain pen is mislaid, so as I am in a hurry to write please 
forgive this pencil. 

Would you care to come here on January 8 or 9 to stay until 14- 
15 ? On the I3th our new theatre is to be opened. It will be a won- 
derful experience. But I won't say too much about it. Only on the 
chance that you do come I'll tell you what clothes to bring. 

One sports suit with heavy shoes and stockings and a mackin- 
tosh and a hat that doesn't matter. One " neat " suit with your soft 
collar or whatever collar you wear and tie (you see you are my 
husband and I can't help wanting you to look what shall I say ?) 
slippers and so on. That's all. If you have a cardigan of course 
bring it and a pair of flannel trousers in case you get soaking wet 
and want a change. 

I am writing to ask B. to go to Lewis and get me a pair of shoes. 
Will you bring them? I may ask her to get me a jacket too. But 
she will give you the parcel. Will you wire me your reply just 
" yes " or " no " and the date, if " yes," of your arrival. 

516 = 

Letters 7922 

There is a London train that reaches Paris at 4 something. You 
could then come on to Fontainebleau the same day. Otherwise it's 
far better to stay the night in Paris, as no cabs meet the late train. 

You get out of the train at Avon and take a cab here which costs 
8 francs with tip. Ring the bell at the porter's lodge and I'll open 
the gate. 

I hope you will decide to come, my dearest. Let me know as soon 
as you can, won't you ? I hope Tchekhov's wife will be here. I have 
gone back to my big lovely room, too, so we should have plenty of 
space to ourselves. We can also sit and drink fyftir in the cowshed. 
I can't write of other things in this letter. I hope to hear from 
you soon. 

517 - 



Beauchamp, Sir Harold: 456, 476, 478, 483, 487, 489, 491 

Blunden, Edmund: 485 

Brett, Hon. Dorothy: 302, 313, 358, 368, 391 (2), 396, 400, 405, 

408, 414 (2), 423, 425 (2), 428, 432, 436, 438, 445 (2), 451, 

454, 456, 459 (2), 461, 464, 466, 468 (3), 474, 488, 489, 498, 


Drey, 0. Raymond: 431 
Fullerton, Miss: 287 
Galsworthy, John: 412, 439 

Gerhardi, William: 388, 417 (3), 443, 449, 453, 471, 479, 492, 499 
Gibbons, Arnold: 475, 481 
Hudson, Stephen: 424 
Jones, Hugh: 466 
Kotelians^y, S. S.: 366, 410, 413, 422, 424, 429, 434, 440, 477, 482, 

486, 502, 508 

Lynd, Mrs. Sylvia: 292, 364, 402, 495, 496 
Morrell, Lady Ottoline: 361, 367, 384 (2), 389, 420, 430, 437, 449, 


Moult, Thomas and Bessie: 428 
Murry, J. M.: 286, 288 (3), 294 (3), 299 (2), 304 (7), 311 (2), 

316 (4), 323 (12), 335 (3), 339 (5), 347 (5)> 354. 355 (2), 

369 (2), 374 (5), 381 (4), 442, 485, 496, 500 (3), 503 (4), 

508, 509 (7), 516 
Murry, Richard: 285, 293, 297, 309 (2), 322, 352 (2), 359 (2), 

362, 387, 394 (2), 399> 40i (2), 458, 467> 488 


Onions, Mrs. Oliver: 457 

Renshaw, Mrs. Charles: 407 

Rice, Anne Estelle: 304, 358, 372, 429, 436, 441, 463, 493, 497 

Russell, The Countess: 409, 410, 413, 425, 458, 462, 515 

ScAiff, Sydney: 347, 355, 365, 422, 432, 434 (2), 493 

Schiff, Sydney and Violet: 308, 312, 314, 334, 381 

ScAiff, Violet: 313, 314 (3), 404, 490 

Wdpole, Hugh: 337 

To .-366 


This boo\ is set on the Linotype in Granjon, a 
type which is neither a copy of a classic face nor 
an original creation. George W. Jones drew the 
basic design for this type from classic sources, 
but deviated from his model wherever four cen- 
turies of type-cutting experience indicated an 
improvement or where modern methods of 
punch-cutting made possible a refinement that 
was beyond the styll of the sixteenth-century 
originator. This new creation is based primarily 
upon the type used by Claude Garamond (1510- 
1561) in his beautiful French boof(s and more 
closely resembles the wort( of the founder of 
the Old Style letter than do any of the various 
modern-day types that bear his name.